The Book Doctor keeps the past alive
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 19:03
The fight between paper and electronic books rages on, with the lead going to eBooks.
But that isn’t stopping a small shop in the Bishops Art District from doing what machines can’t.
“When I repair a book, I never know what life it changed or where it came from and where it may go,” Karen Cangemi, a restoration artist who works at The Book Doctor, said.
For Cangemi, books are more than just a pastime. They’re her livelihood.
She and her fellow bookbinders fill their days handling tattered books that are priceless to the people that bring them in.
“Sometimes I’ll ask ‘did they get the book? Well what did they think?’ [One man] picked them up and he said he got chills” Cangemi recalled, placing her hand against her heart and laughing at the memory. “And I thought, ‘oh my gosh. That makes it worth it.’”
Even more worth it are the types of books the bookbinders get to see pass through the shop.
“We did a restoration on a hand painted Alice in Wonderland from a small press in Paris. That was pretty cool,” shop owner Candice McKay said.
“There’s a book here out of C. S. Lewis’s library and there’s a note written by him to the friend that he gave the book to,” Cangemi said.
Despite the loyal customers, shops like these are relics of the past. This is the age of iPads and Kindles. Amazon reportedly sold more eBooks than papers books last year.
But employees of The Book Doctor say they’re not worried about being on the endangered species list.
“I think there are people who like reading and people who like books,” McKay said. “The people who like books see it more as an object than those who enjoy the actual act of reading.”
And that’s why she said her shop won’t see a lack of business.
“My whole dealings with books is that sometimes you just don’t know,” Cangemi said.
“You don’t know what’s going to change your life,” Cangemi said. “You have to have books. You never know what you’re going to pull off or read off a page or paragraph and see — ‘oh, there’s my answer.’”