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Tourist gets trapped in Waterstones bookstore, sparks jealousy

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Ann Hermes

(Read caption) A bestsellers bookshelf sits at The Book Cellar, an independent bookstore in Lincoln Square in Chicago, Illinois.

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Just a few weeks ago, we reported on a Japanese bookstore that’s inviting patrons to stay overnight and discussed the wish list of a book fan who dreamed of what she could do if she had a whole night to explore a store. 

Recently, however, a patron at a Trafalgar Square location of the UK bookstore chain Waterstones found himself facing a similar situation accidentally.

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American David Willis posted on Instagram, 

He then tweeted to the Waterstones account. 

Hashtags on Twitter including #Waterstones, #FreetheWaterstonesOne, and #WaterstonesTexan, named after the state from which Willis reportedly hails, quickly sprang up on Twitter. Willis later tweeted that he was liberated from the store.

Some media outlets and Twitter users seem to be jealous over the opportunity experienced by Willis. Telegraph staff called him a “lucky thing" and even Waterstones branch manager Matt Atkins acknowledged, "There are definitely worse places that you could be stuck in all night" in an interview with the BBC, though he also told them, "We're mortified that this has happened."

As for envious members of the public, Twitter user Justin Somper wrote, 

User Mia Quibell-Smith agreed, writing,

Meanwhile, Waterstones itself is having a sense of humor about the whole thing – they published a blog post on their website titled “What to read when you’ve two hours on your hands… and are locked in a bookshop.”

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“We might be a bit late sharing this,” Waterstones staffer Dan Lewis wrote. “But for future reference…” He recommended such titles as Zadie Smith’s “The Embassy of Cambodia” and “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen.

And other Waterstones branches are ribbing the Trafalgar Square staff. 

What would we do if we were locked inside a bookstore? Glad you asked. We've been meaning to dig into the "Century" trilogy by Ken Follett, and the doorstopper sizes of the books mean that would keep us occupied for a while...