Original Stephen King Books and Manuscripts Ruined by Water Main Break

by Mark McCurley

This just in from Bangor Daily News, Gerald Winters’ rare book store, Gerald Winters & Son, in Bangor, Maine, suffered a devastating blow when a water main burst that flooded his basement, soaking the pages of dozens of first and limited-edition Stephen King books, galleys, signed copies, prints in different languages and rare ephemera.

Winters said he estimates he lost about 2,000 books, and as many as seven of King’s original typed manuscripts. These include Dolan’s Cadillac, Maximum Overdrive and The Eyes of the Dragon. He also collected rare and signed copies of works from J.R.R. Tolkien, some dating back 80 years.

On these rare items now ruined, he said, “You can’t replace this stuff.”

Having moved to Bangor from Thailand a little over a year ago,  he claims to have amassed his collection over the course of two decades, during which he traveled all over the world to gather.

The purpose of opening his store was, according to Winters, to have every conceivable edition of Stephen King’s books for people to see instead of selling them.

He had moved much of his inventory to the basement during a reorganization of his shop. He said he estimates that only about 10 percent of his entire inventory was not ruined by the flood.

Customers and family have been calling the store out of concern to ask Winters about what happened, but he said he couldn’t stomach answering their calls. So much so, he cannot even talk to his wife, who was trying to reach him from Thailand where she is visiting family.

“I don’t even want to talk to them, because I don’t know what to tell them,” he said. “It’s a mess.”

In an article by the Associated Press, Stephen King said he was “horrified” to hear about Winters’ store, and that he plans to reach out to him and see if he can help. The horror writer said he was “heart-stricken as a book lover.”

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