For a Nepali, who is in fifties, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, would probably come to mind for book publication, distribution and retail sale.
The history of Nepal's oldest book shop date back to 1939 A.D., when Ram Das Shrestha started selling books, mostly religious, in a cart in Bhotahity, near Ratna Park, Kathmandu. It was called Ram Das and Sons and renamed Ratna Pustak Bhandar in 1946 A.D. after his eldest son, Ratna Prasad Shrestha.
Ratna Prasad Shrestha published the first book Bhagawat Strota, followed by Varnamala (alphabet book in Nepali and Pancha Strota and made a historical foray by laying a foundation stone of Ratna Pustak Bhandar.
This was at a time when the general citizens were deprived of knowledge by the then regime of the country. Ratna Pustak Bhandar has since been providing a wide range of books to the people by publishing, importing and distributing throughout the country.
Ratna Pustak Bhandar has also provided a platform for many aspiring writers, who are the literary figures of the nation now. Lekhnath Poudel, Bal Krishna Sama, Siddicharan Shrestha, Kedarman Byathit, Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala, Lainsingh Bangdel, Madanmani Dixit, Shanker Lamichhane, Hridayachandra Singh Pradhan, Madhav Ghimire, Satya Mohan Joshi, Dhuswan Sayami, Bhairav Aryal, Taranath Sharma, Krishna Chandra Singh Pradhan, Govinda Raj Bhattaria, Abhi Subedi, Dhrubchandra Gautam, Padmawati Singh, Maya Thakuri and many other prominent figures of Nepalese literary world were and are associated with Ratna Pustak Bhandar.
In recognition to the contribution for increasing the literacy rate of the country, Ratna Prasad Shrestha, as a founder of Ratna Pustak Bhandar, was listed 'The Century's 101 Influential Nepalese' by Himal Magazine (13 – 27 April 2000 A.D.). Likewise, PABSON (an association of Nepalese Private Schools), Hasane Samaj (Humorous Society) and Nepal Printer's Association have also awarded for the contribution to education. Similarly, for the publication of children's literature, Kavitaram Bal Sahitya Prabardan gave a special award in 2006 A.D. Ratna Pustak Bhandar was also honoured with the prestigious Madan Puraskar Award on its Diamond Jubilee Anniversary.