Jaico was founded in 1946 by Jaman Shah as a book distribution business for U.S. paperback publishers. The company's name commemorates India's independence ("Jai" means victory in Hindi language). Jaico was India's first and only publisher of paperback books in the English language.
During the 1960s, Jaico was one of the first houses in India to publish English translations of non-English writings by Indian authors. In 1999, SC Sethi head of Jaico in Delhi, became the president of the Federation of Publishers' & Booksellers Association in India.