Old spines – why we love the smell of secondhand books

Paperback advertises itself as “sweet and lovely, with just a touch of the mustiness of aged paper”, which sounds nice, I guess, though I wonder how it would go down socially: “Wow, you smell lovely, sort of like the Encyclopedia Britannicas in my grandad’s cellar.” Which is not to say that people should always give off the odour you expect them to – ask anyone who has ever worn Dzing! by L’Artisan Parfumeur, which is great, and smells like cardboard.

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