Waterstones Piccadilly holding lock-in inspired ‘sleepover’

Credit where it’s due to Waterstones’ PR staff: following a potentially embarrassing incident last week, in which an American tourist had to tweet and post on Instagram for help (#nofilter) after being locked inside the chain’s Trafalgar Square branch for two hours when staff closed up without realising he was still there, they’ve spun what could be a clammy nightmare into a dream come true for a certain kind of book lover. Realising that being locked inside a bookshop for several hours isn’t necessarily so unappealing a prospect, the shop is this Friday hosting a ‘sleepover’ for ten guests and their plus ones.

Those guests were picked via a competition on Airbnb (‘only serious book lovers need apply’), with the listing outlining some of what the twenty winners can expect, besides Violet Beauregard turning purple and Augustus Gloop falling into the chocolate river:

With Waterstones Piccadilly all to yourself, saunter up and down our beautiful central staircase, from our Ground Floor Bestsellers to our Fourth Floor’s Russian Bookshop, and let your imagination loose. Settle down on the comfy airbeds and sleeping bags provided and drift off surrounded by the fantastical tales, incredible true stories and beautiful books of all shapes and sizes that are packed into the more than eight and a half miles of book shelves.

That’s not all though – there’s plenty of treats and surprises in store. Food (Grazebox, Weetabix, Innocent Smoothies, JaffaCakes, TeaPigs – to name a few), entertainment, bedding – we got you covered! The only thing you need to worry about is what to read next.

And of course – this is a PR exercise after all – there is ‘free WiFi to share pictures of your stay with the world’.

Holly Clarke of Airbnb says: ‘When the news broke on social media about David Willis we saw how many people would jump at the chance to spend a night surrounded by their favourite books. So we got in touch with Waterstones on Twitter to suggest they become an Airbnb host. Airbnb is all about offering unique accommodation experiences and this fits with that perfectly.’

Waterstones retail director Rik McShane adds: ‘We were overwhelmed by the support on social media for David Willis when he was unfortunately locked in our Trafalgar Square bookshop last Thursday. Amidst this however were a great many messages from people exclaiming how much they would like to spend the night amidst the books they love. So, when Airbnb got in touch we leapt at the chance to give them what they asked for, with the promise that we’d let them out first thing in the morning.  As booksellers we already know what special places bookshops are, as our ten lucky winners and their guests will discover.’

Related Articles

Sign up to our Newsletter


* indicates required

BookMachine Ltd. will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at hello@bookmachine.org. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.