Bar Harbor Book Shop to close after 20 years in business

BAR HARBORD, Maine (WABI) – Steve Powell and Barbara Baron Gifford say they’re retiring on a high note.

After two decades of selling rare and used books, owners of the Bar Harbor Book Shop are closing down the brick-and-mortar portion of the business, and heading into semi-retirement.

“I just wanted a little summer job. It turned into this,” Barbara said.

They opened Bar Harbor Book Shop 20 years ago out of a love for books, and as an answer to a changing market.

“When the internet came along, everybody kind of dispersed to the lowest price they could find on the internet,” said Steve. “So we wanted that back and we succeeded. I mean, we have friends that would come in every summer, and from all over the country, and it’s just been a great experience.”

They say they’ll still have books for sale online, and available for help in locating hard to find titles. And as for retirement, they’re not looking to spend winters away.

“I do love Bar Harbor in the winter,” Barbara said. “It’s beautiful. It’s quiet and my plans are to enjoy the island because we really weren’t able to.”

After two decades in business, they still have a sense of humor. And they still have a reverence for what makes a small, used book shop so special.

“People have collected books from ancient times,” said Steve. “And there’s a mystique about it, I suppose. And it’s an intimate hobby that you practice on your own but enjoy the hunt with others.”

“I am incredibly grateful to the MDI community for supporting us all these years,” Barbara added. “Because without them we wouldn’t be able to be here.”

The Bar Harbor Book Shop will be open through Dec. 23, with store-wide sales of 50-75% off.

For more information, you can visit their website at

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