The Nerd Side Of Life

Why The Smell of a Freshly Printed Book is the Best Smell in the World

The smell of a freshly printed book is the best world in the world. It’s one of the truest statements that I know. At least in my opinion. Some people enjoy the smell of pumping gas, leather seats, a new car, cigarette smoke or even freshly mown lawns. But for me it has and always will be the smell of a new book. Heck the old ones smell wonderful too but there’s something about the fresh print on newly made paper that makes me feel good.

There is actually a science behind this reaction so I’m not just talking out of thin air. And a lot of research has gone into this. Unfortunately there is not an actual word for the love of the smell of a fresh printed book.

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It reminds us how much work goes into them

One of the reasons that there is no word for it is because of all the smell encompasses. There are so many things that go into creating a new book. First and foremost it needs to be written. And when books are written magic happens. binding of a new book so it’s hard to identify exactly what it is. It’s the same as loving the smell of a new magazine. Something about it really hits the olfactory. There’s a fine amount of chemistry that goes into making the ink and the glue of the binding. As a book gets older the glue starts to degrade and the smell of the binding can be picked up more and more. And when our books start to age they start releasing scents that remind us older times.

Smelling a book can unlock hidden memories…

Whether you’re reading Harry Potter for the first time or the twentieth the smell of the pages can be a welcoming experience. It can also be quite emotional. I have a book that my Nana used to read to me called Maggie Muggins and her Animal Friends. It’s a copy of the book that was gifted to my Nana when she was a small girl living in Canada and sometimes I crack open the book just to sniff the pages. It might not be the most normal way to remember but if you rely on smells for memory as many people do, it helps to keep things fresh in your mind. And sometimes it will unlock things that you haven’t thought about in a long time.

Newly printed books are the same, only with memories that haven’t been made yet.

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It fills you with anticipation for the unknown

No matter what book you’re cracking open, if you haven’t read it then you get to imagine the story untold. A fresh new adventure and world is waiting for you just beyond that title page. I know that sounds really hokey but it’s true. There is an excitement that comes with grabbing a book from your favorite author and not knowing which direction the text will lead you. Especially if it is an anthology.

It becomes a reflex

Once you realize that the smell of a fresh printed book is the best smell in the world it’s hard to keep yourself from smelling them. It becomes a habit that you have no control over. My husband can always find me smelling his schoolbooks when they arrive in the mail. It’s just become one of those things that he expects from me. He can set a book down anywhere and if I pass it more than likely I’m picking it up and smelling the pages.

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What’s funny is that as I was writing this my daughter who is only 5 was bringing her dad a stack of books to read. And what did I see out of the corner of my eye? Her sitting on the bed smelling a book. She did not know what I was writing about, heck there’s no way she could have. But the smell of a good book is so enticing that it’s hard to go unnoticed. Either she’s seen me with my nose in a book, or she just has the same love of the smell I do. Whichever it is, it’s nice to know the love of a good book will live on in my family.

I’m sure there are many more personal reasons that you may love the smell of a new book. But these are mine. I hope you liked them! I would love to hear yours in the comments.

FunFact: There is a word for the love of the smell of an old book, Bilblichor which is a term derived from Petrichor. Petrichor is the love of the earthy smell that rain leaves behind. Biblichor is the love of the smell of older musty books, or an old bookstore.

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