The science behind that “old book smell”


Ever wonder why libraries and used book stores smell so good?

Wonder no more! Andy Brunning, a chemistry teacher from the UK, has created an infographic — shown below — that breaks down (ba-dum-chik) the chemical reactions that occur in paper and ink as they age, causing the “old book smell.”

Next time you thumb through the pages of an old book, taking in its intoxicating aroma, remember what’s behind that comfy smell: science! 

Aroma Chemistry: The Smell of New And Old Books

For more explanation of the science behind the old book smell, check out Andy’s blog Compound Interest.

Printed Book Design 


Chris Robley
Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."



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