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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.’

Airbnb, David Willis, sleepover, waterstones

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

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