Monday, November 15, 2010

That “old book” smell…

8_bookstore I got distracted today (not unusual) on the way to pick up lunch for Logan and me.  I’m almost done with the book I’m reading, and there’s a Half Price Books practically next door to Jersey Mike’s, so I wandered in to the bookstore to see if anything struck my fancy.  I’ve been to several Half Price Books, but this one is my new favorite.  It smelled like a second hand bookstore should.  It immediately reminded me of all the time I spent as a kid in the Public Library with my mom, checking out book after book, trying to win the second grade reading competition – which I did, 1,257 books later. 

Anyway, what is it about used books that make them smell the way they do?  All libraries have this smell, and now that I’m thinking about it, it’s strange that the other Half Price Books I’ve been to didn’t smell that way too.  What specifically is “that” smell?  Is it the paper?  The ink?  According to what I’ve just read, it’s the materials the paper is composed of breaking down that you smell.  Older paper also has higher levels of sulfur in it and it was designed to last for ages, however about 10 years ago publishing companies switched to acid-free paper, which makes it less “smelly”, and may not last as long.  Whatever it is, I just know I love that smell. 

Even though we now have the technology for electronic book readers like the Kindle and the Nook, I’m not sure I’d really be interested in one.   If the only reason was that it doesn’t “smell like a book”, I could certainly buy some ridiculous e-book deodorizers.  (Seriously.)  cans-all
Personally, I really like being able to turn the actual paper pages, and physically hold the book.  Plus, I have been known to judge a book by it’s cover, and I’m not sure you can really do that electronically… 

As a side note, I became annoyed today at the “Cooking for Dummies” cookbook… and pretty much that whole “______ for Dummies” series.  Just because I want to learn how to cook, or _______, doesn’t mean I’m a dummy.  Perhaps they should consider renaming their series “_______ for Novices”… but I suppose that just isn’t as catchy. 

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