Old book smells

In General News by Justin

So much of my time goes in to new technology and innovation strategy; and when I get home all I dream of doing is putting on a record and reading a book. Yes, I have a kindle and an iPad and a 3D 55″ TV and a MacBook and an iPod. And I love them. I love them all. A lot. They save me time and help me be lighter, more agile and be more in touch with what I need to know, from the people I need to know, faster. But I also love older, analogue technology too. I’m 37. I was born in the 70’s. My first memories were of events that took place with a backdrop of mechanical sounds spinning tape backwards and forwards,  and acoustic needles measuring the amplification of the sound of vinyl as they spun. My favourite documentary through the late 80’s was BBC2’s Horizon program ‘How To Film The Imposible‘, about the Special Effects work Industrial Light & Magic  produced for Return Of The Jedi and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom – all analogue creative, using matt effects and 35mm photography. I remember it and I loved it and I still love it.
It’s not just the tactile and visual side of this stuff, it’s also the smell that is attached to it all too. I remember the first thermal printer from Sinclair that literally burned the text onto the silver paper. I remember the smell of video tape, warmed by the mechanisms of the video player on a hot day, and of course, I remember, and can still smell old books. But what is it that causes the smell of new and old books?

Aroma Chemistry Smell of Books


An Extract from the Compound Interest website:

As far as the smell of new books goes, it’s actually quite difficult to pinpoint specific compounds, for a number of reasons. Firstly, there seems to be a scarcity of scientific research that’s been carried out on the subject – to be fair, it’s understandable why it might not exactly be high up on the priority list. Secondly, the variation in the chemicals used to manufacture books also means that it’s an aroma that will vary from book to book. Add to this the fact that there are literally hundreds of compounds involved, and it becomes clearer why it evades attribution to a small selection of chemicals.

Read the full article and find out more at Compound Interest