Keeping books alive

In a world of iPads and e-readers, some of you might think the printed book is doomed to become a thing of the past. One man disagrees: “I don’t think so. It’s too early to eulogize the paper reading materials,” says Shalom, a proud book binder in Tel Aviv.

Shalom’s father started the business in the early 1940’s at his home, and trained 25 employees, binding everything from albums to university publications, novels, Bibles, and on and on. In 1966, Shalom opened up his own shop in the Florentine neighborhood of Tel Aviv, where it still stands till today.

With modern digitization and the accessibility of online books, Shalom began losing business, and had to let go of his employees. Shalom thought about closing his shop and retiring, but his heart would not let him do it. He looked around, and decided to adopt some of the new trends merging into his craft. If you walk into his shop today, you will find journals and books, all made out of recycled paper and covered with beautifully crafted materials. He has also started to invite people to watch him work and to create their own book covers. “People say it’s a craft that is disappearing,” he laughs, “but I don’t believe so. As long as people want to read, I will be here to make sure their books look good!”