Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Smell of Old Books

I love the smell of old books, so I loved this article "Where Does the Smell of Old Books Come from?" on IFLScience.com

Old books have a distinctive smell that can make any booklover’s heart melt. Matija Strlic of University College London described it to The Telegraph as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.

The secret to the scent is within the hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that make up the book’s paper pages, ink, and adhesive. Over time, the VOCs break down, releasing the chemicals into the air that are picked up by our noses. New books also have a trademark aroma, but it isn’t quite as developed as their older counterparts. Additionally, different materials used in manufacturing the book will alter the VOC profile.

Read the rest of the Article here.

HT: Aaron Macholl-Stanley and Michael Halpren (You guys know what I like!)


vallery said...

A very long time friend of the family had a rare book collection-It was always a joy to hold these precious volumes. There is something very special about old books-and these books went back centuries.

J Hamilton said...

I became a docent at the new world-class San Diego Library because I love books. Others, more because they love the architecture, the ambiance, or whatever. After my orientation, a librarian asked if I would like a personal tour of the back rooms. “Of course!” When she opened the door to the archive of thousands of old, old books, the smell hit us in the face. “Aaah!” we both said at once. Thanks for bringing that memory back!

Anonymous said...

I too love old books, but this spring my allergies bothered me so much that I was forced to return books to the library unread. They were just too dusty for me to handle. Sob, sob.