Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

I restore antiquarian and modern books and I've been doing book binding for about 20 years. This business started in 2000 in Medford and I moved it to Ashland two years ago.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley?

I moved here in 2000 after my family traveled up and down the coast in a recreational vehicle for three years.

What inspired you to go into this line of work?

I always knew I wanted to work with books. When I was a student at the University of Minnesota I got a job at the university bindery, repairing books. From there I went to work at a used bookstore, thinking I wanted to sell books, because I didn't like machines. Then I discovered all I wanted to do was to make the books loved again. The books would come in with library marks, dinged up corners, torn dust jackets and they'd just sit on the shelves. That's when I discovered my passion for this; then I had to find a place to study. Restoration is about making books usable and aesthetically pleasing, while conservation might mean putting a book in the box. The traditional place to go was England and studying book restoration at the London College of Printing. Things have changed a bit, there are more places in the U.S. to learn the trade.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again?

If I could have possibly done it, I would've gone to England to study. Getting a degree there would have made getting established more quickly. It is kind of an automatic "Oh, you know what you're doing" in people's eyes. So I took a slower route to getting there.

What's the toughest business decision you've made?

Going into business for myself, I'd much rather work for someone else, but there's no one to work for in Oregon with what I do. Anything having to do with numbers, like taxes and all of that stuff, that's not where my forté is, I'd rather do the hands on bookbinding and leave the other to someone else. But it made me grow.

Who are your competitors?

David Weinstein in Los Angeles and then there is Richard Baker in St. Louis. They are few and far between. Every book restorer I know winds up getting back-logged, sometimes for years. Since I got my Web site up, I'm getting inquiries from around the country. A standard restoration costs $400. They see my speciality is book cloth from the 18th and 19th centuries, I emphasize that on my Web site. So people send me Darwin and Captain Cook's Voyages Around the World — that one will keep me busy for three weeks and cost about $2,000. It's a big book and the cover was just shot. You get 10 books and that keeps you busy for the month and you have to be working on more than one book at a time.

What are your goals?

I want to help people who can't afford a $400 restoration to be able to repair their own books. I do classes by reservation on Tuesday nights. That costs $20 and people can usually get their books repaired in one or two sessions. I'm expanding from restoration into designer bookbinding as well. I've started a Yahoo Group called the Ashland Book Network helping disperse information about book binding, art and classes around the Rogue Valley. We have about 35 members without doing any promotion. Right now I'm combatting the horrors of putting duct tape on books.

What training or education did you need?

I'm working on my conservation diploma from the American Academy of Book Binding with Don Etherington in North Carolina. He's the preeminent book conservator. That will come within the next two years and allow me to teach Don Etherington's methods.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Get hands-on experience and go work at what you want to do. I would read the book "Small Time Operator" by Bernard Kamoroff and then find a good mentor. I call a friend every week and tell her five things I'm going to get done, there's accountability with that.

To suggest an idea for this column, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com