The Petersfield Bookshop took in over £1,000 in online orders all because fantasy writer Neil Gaiman happened to come across its plea for help.
Robert Sansom, who has worked at the shop for 13 years, uploaded pictures of the sad sight of the empty store on Tuesday with the message: ‘Tumbleweed… not a single book sold today.’
The shop assistant linked to the store’s website and urged customers to take advantage of a 25 per cent January sale.
The bookshop’s Twitter account gained 1,100 new followers within 15 hours along with enough orders to keep Robert working through the night.
It’s thought the tweet’s audience skyrocketed after Mr Gaiman shared it with his 2.8 million followers.
The author is known worldwide for his work on a number of DC and Marvel comics, creating The Sandman series and penning novels including Stardust, American Gods and Coraline.
Coraline was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film, and a successful TV series based on American Gods has been renewed for three seasons.
Bookworms around the world flooded the Petersfield with heartfelt messages and order requests, including many in the United States, where Mr Gaiman lives.
Robert, who runs the bookshop’s social media account, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. It’s been a real “kindness of strangers” story.
‘The number of likes and retweets started going up right before my eyes, it was like it was animated.
‘I had to stop replying to messages eventually at two o’clock this morning.
‘Somebody we have a connection with at the bookshop has a vague connection with Neil Gaiman, and sent it to him, and that was it.’
Petersfield Bookshop celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2018, and has been run by the same family for the last 60 years.
Robert described yesterday’s sales drought as ‘very unusual’, despite January and February being ‘notoriously bad’.
He said: ‘Yesterday was very strange. It was very stormy, so everyone was on lockdown.
‘We had a few people come in and browse, but nobody was really in the buying mood.
‘It got to about an hour before closing time and we realised we hadn’t taken a single penny all day. None of us could remember that ever happening before.’
But Robert was quick to add: ‘We weren’t really worried about it. We were a bit wistful, but these things happen.’
‘We can’t stress enough how grateful we are for all the support we have received.’
A tweet from the store’s account this evening said: ‘We are working into the evening tonight to try and service all the orders received.
‘If you are awaiting an answer to a query we WILL get to you, please hold on…’
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