Book Sniffing: It’s a Real Thing

Posted September 18, 2015 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 26 Comments

Supposedly a true book lover adores the smell of books. I have to confess, I’ve never really understood this. I mean, just before writing this post, I tested this again by smelling my current book and it smells like – paper. Doesn’t give me any nostalgic notions of reading by the fire or anything like that. Still, SO many people talk about book sniffing that there must be some merit to it, right?

Loves Books

So I started thinking about how there are a few books that really do smell good. In fact, sitting here right now, I can literally imagine the smell of my leather bound copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Something about the combination of the leather and the gold-edged pages smells divine!


Then there’s OLD books. They seem to smell better, right? I always just thought this was because they were … well, old. I figured years of dust or something actually somehow made a book smell good. But then I found this fun infographic from Andy Brunning over at his blog Compound Interest. Turns out, there’s a reason old books smell good. Old books actually release different chemical compounds than new books that give off sweet odors similar to vanilla, almond and flowers! No wonder people love to sniff those old books! Makes me hungry for a book right now …


You can check out Andy Brunning’s original post by clicking on the Infographic and find out more about this phenomenon (including the science behind it).

Do you love the smell of books? Do you think new books are sniffable, or is it just the older ones that make you swoon? I want to know!

As  always, this discussion post has been linked up to the 2015 Discussion Challenge.


26 responses to “Book Sniffing: It’s a Real Thing

  1. I never really understood the book smell thing either. Although my oldest son loves the library, he always complains that library books smell and he’s kind of right. I assume it’s a combination of age, dust and food stains.

  2. I love this! I actually LOVE the smell of new books, but the smell of old books creeps me out. I mean, who knows what is going on in there, in terms of germs and bacteria and such. The hands that touched them.. ew, I don’t even want to think about it. ::shudders:: New books though, I LOOOOVE the smell of factory and chemicals! I know that’s weird, but it’s the way it is 😉

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Review: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
  3. Nothing brings a smile to my face more than walking into a bookstore that smells of new books and freshly brewed coffee. There is something about that combination that makes all the worries in my world disappear. And trust me, my husband has tested it. After a bad day at work, he has often taken me to Barnes & Noble just to make my day better. Works every time!

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

    Terri M., the Director recently posted: Scenic Sundays 50: Sick Again | What makes you happy?

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