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A bookstore’s tweet lamenting lack of visitors results in heartwarming tale

The independent Petersfield Bookshop exists in a small town about 40 miles south-west of London, U.K.

On Tuesday this week it had a particularly rough day, selling a grand total of zero books — something that had never happened in the store’s 100-year history, according to owner John Westwood.

After discussing the dismal day with his boss, staff member Robert Samson tapped out a tweet lamenting the lack of sales.

“Tumbleweed … Not a single book sold today … £0.00,” Samson wrote in the tweet.

And then everything changed.

Thanks partly to a retweet of the bookstore’s message by science-fiction author Neil Gaiman to his 2.8 followers, orders started pouring in from around the world. And, despite the appalling weather outside, customers started showing up at the door, too.

The bookstore followed up later with another tweet saying the team was working into the night “to try and service all the orders received.” Another message included the hashtag FairyTaleTuesday.

Westwood told the Guardian the response from people near and far had been “really touching,” adding, “People have been so kind. This will really make a difference. There are slow days, but it was a really unusual day for us to have not sold any books.”

The bookseller continued: “It blows me away. I don’t understand social media because I’m old-fashioned, but when Rob called me and told me the figures, I was gobsmacked.”

After finding out what had happened, Gaiman followed up with another tweet saying how pleased he felt.

Now Westwood is hoping his bookstore’s 15 minutes of fame will help to keep the orders rolling in for many years to come.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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