The event has been planned in light of the news that David Willis, an American tourist, was accidentally locked in the same Piccadilly branch for two hours last Thursday (16 October).
Booklovers who wish to spend a night in the store have been asked to tell the companies in one sentence which book they would read if they found themselves trapped in a bookshop for a night and why through Airbnb’s specially-created listing page. The ten best entries will win access to the event, along with plus ones.
Guests will be treated to a guided tour of the bookshop’s eight and a half miles of bookshelves and given tips on successful sleeping by Night School author Richard Wiseman. Online snack service Graze will provide a midnight feast, while Weetabix will supply breakfast in Café W, Waterstones’ coffee shop.
Holly Clarke, acting country manager at Airbnb, said: "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."
Rik McShane, retail director at Waterstones, added: "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 message 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’s ‘Night At’ initiative aims to allow consumers to spend a night in unique venues. In August, Australians were offered the chance to spend a night in an Ikea store in Sydney.
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