BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Gerald Winters knew he wanted to move from Thailand to the U.S. to raise his son, but chose Bangor because it seemed like a good fit to open a bookstore where he could sell his collection of rare books, featuring a number of works by Stephen King.
"It was solely the reason I came to Bangor," he said. After visiting a few times and placing an offer on a home, he and his wife planned their move. Winters had lived in large cities like New York and Los Angeles, but wanted a quieter place for his family.
He's been collecting books since a friend loaned him the first Stephen King novel he ever read when he was working for a political consulting firm in New York in 1997. It was a paperback version of The Stand. He was instantly hooked.
"A lot of people have asked me over the years, what is my most prized book, and this is it," he said, showing that copy of The Stand. It's not a valuable book, but it has personal value to him which is why he says he won't sell it.
He does have a number of valuable Stephen King books and manuscripts, including one of 26 copies of Firestarter that the publisher claims is bound in an aluminum coated asbestos cloth.
Winters said his customers come from all over the world. And those interested in rare Stephen King books would have added incentive to visit his store since they could visit sites from King's books or take a spin by the horror author's home.
Winters not only sells books from his own collection but sometimes sells for some of his customers. Such is the case with a first-edition, signed copy of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, which he expects could sell in excess of $1 million.
"The family has bought some books off me in the past, and they have a lot of rare books in their library that they're disposing of privately and quietly," he said.
Winters made it clear he is not in possession of that book, and you won't find it at the store. There are plenty of other interesting finds, some for sale, some just for display.
One of his display items is a picture of Stephen King in a 1970 edition of The Maine Campus, the University of Maine's student newspaper, taken when King was a student there. Winters said he's never met King but hopes, someday, he might decide to pay his store a visit.
Winters said he's in the process of building his website right now and hopes to launch it in time for Black Friday. He plans to have about a dozen books up for sale to start.