The Smell of Books

I just read an article on the smell of old books, and it made me wonder why people like that smell. It can’t be the smell itself? Deteriorating organic compounds really don’t smell that great. It must be the memories evoked by those smells. Maybe your grandma read you a favorite story over and over from an old book when you were a child. Maybe you liked to hang out in a used book store during your college years.

I’m sure studies have been done on this, and because I have not read them, I can only offer my speculations. What I do know is that I am not a fan of musty-smelling books. Give me a digital book anytime! Not only does it NOT smell bad, I can also read it in the dark because it’s backlit and I can adjust the print size! And digital books are perfect for people who move a lot because you don’t need to move heavy boxes full of books around.

And, yes, somebody still copyedited, proofed, and typeset that book. Three cheers to the publishing industry and to people who like to read books, smelly or otherwise. Make some time and read one today!

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