Annie’s Book Stop in Portland, a seller of used books for 30 years, will shut the doors on Saturday.

One of Portland’s few remaining bookstores will close Saturday after 30 years in business, its owner said Wednesday.

Annie’s Book Stop at 295 Forest Ave., in a shopping center anchored by a Hannaford supermarket, opened in 1984 as a franchisee of what was then one of the country’s largest chains of used bookstores, said its owner, Alice Moisen.

Moisen, 68, said she and her late husband, Joe Moisen, decided to open their own business after he was laid off from his job. They opened Annie’s when he was 55.

“We opened it 30 years ago to give my husband something to do,” she said.

A few years after they opened, the corporate franchiser “went belly-up,” Moisen said, and a group of Annie’s franchise owners banded together and bought the necessary rights to continue operating the franchising entity as a loose-knit cooperative.

The cooperative adopted a democratic style of decision-making, which has kept the regional chain alive despite an occasional clash of wills, she said.

The bookstores have continued to operate independently, although their numbers have dwindled from about 80 at the chain’s peak to 21 today, in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Florida.

After Saturday, there will be 20. In Maine, only two will remain, in Freeport and Wells.

Moisen, whose husband died in 2011, said she would have closed the store sooner if not for a multi-year lease that has finally expired.

“The last few years, we lost money,” she said. “We had to keep going anyway because of the lease.”

She said no new tenant has been secured for the space.

Moisen said her store, like all bookstores, has experienced declining sales as more consumers have developed a preference for buying books online.

Still, Moisen hopes to lure some of them back to Annie’s, if only for one final visit, by marking down every book in her remaining inventory to half-price through Friday.

Whatever is left on Saturday will be offered for sale at “a buck a bag,” she said.

“Right now the selection is still pretty good, but the favorite authors are going fast,” Moisen said. 

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

canderson@pressherald.com

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