A single book purchase on the cusp of the holiday shopping season may not seem like reason for excitement, but when a 27-year-old children’s book was sold at a book shop this week, it quickly became an internet sensation.

Broadhursts Bookshop in England just sold a copy of a children’s biography of William the Conqueror that had been sitting on the store’s shelves since 1991. The shop took to Twitter to commemorate the moment tweeting, “”I have just sold a book that we have had in stock since May 1991. We always knew its day would come.”

Twitter users quickly jumped on the tweet offering up thousands of retweets and replies, some incredibly moving like the one from author Sarah Todd Taylor, who tweeted a dramatic retelling of the moment: “The book held its breath. It had hoped so often, only to have that hope crushed. Hands lifted it from the shelf, wrapped it warmly in paper. As the door closed on its past life, the book heard the soft cheers of its shelfmates.”

Others went for a comedic angle, like one user poking fun at Piers Morgan, (who came under fire earlier this year for his comments about baby wearing),”I worked at a bookshop that had a copy of Piers Morgan’s autobiography,” user Captainrobs wrote, “I worked there 2 different times in 4 years, and we never sold it, even when it was reduced to 1p! It’s probably still there.”

The Twitter conversation takes so many twists and turns from there, like other booksellers sharing their own stories of long-stocked books and readers wondering what the sold book might be replaced with.

The bookshop has been open since 1920 and told NPR that the book was purchased by an “older gentleman who was buying several books on the Norman Conquest of Britain for his grandson.”

The tweet storm gives hope for independent book sellers, like Broadhursts, that there are still plenty of literature fans in the world. “Would never have guessed for even a moment that this Tweet would go viral – thank you all for your likes, retweets, comments & follows,” Broadhursts writes, “We are incredibly overwhelmed, and so happy at how many book-lovers there are out there.”

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Jonas Jacobsson via Unsplash



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