waterstones airbnb bookshop sleepover
Waterstones is offering the chance to spend the night in a bookshop after a US tourist was locked in a store overnightShakespeare and Company

"Serious book lovers" are being given the chance to spend the night in Europe's largest bookshop, after Waterstones teamed up with holiday rentals website Airbnb.

In an attempt to capitalise on the recent media attention surrounding the company after a US tourist became trapped in one of the chain's London branches overnight, Waterstones set up a competition for 10 guests to stay in its Piccadilly store.

David Willis, originally from Dallas, Texas, became a Twitter sensation last week when he contacted Waterstones through the social media platform to alert them that he had been locked inside the firm's Trafalgar Square bookshop.

His message was retweeted more than 17,000 times and caused topic #FreeTheWaterstones1 to briefly trend on Twitter.

The partnership with Airbnb offers the chance for anyone curious about Willis' time in the bookshop after hours to experience it first-hand.

"Have you ever wondered what happens in a bookshop at night? Well this Friday 24th October, you have the chance to find out," Waterstones' Airbnb page reads.

"This is a one-time opportunity to have a sleepover in Europe's largest bookshop. 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."

Guests will be provided with airbeds, sleeping bags and food, as well as access to the eight and a half miles of book shelves that the store offers.

In a nod to the tourist incident last week, Waterstones said: "The only thing you need to worry about is what to read next. And if someone will let you out in the morning... But that wouldn't be a problem would it?"