It's not a new thing. I've always done it. I can remember going to book fair as a child and taking in the musty smell of old books; a smell I came to love. I'm no different now and in fact, probably worse.
In a corner of the airport, on a shelf of new releases, I picked up a book about time travel, read the blurb and ever so casually opened the book and sniffed the pages. I was quickly drawn away from my happy place with the 'ahem' of a nearby patron. I had been busted. Big time. Casually, and as if nothing was out of the ordinary, I placed the book back on the shelf and continued on.
I always follow the same process, no matter what book shop I'm in. I pick up the book, look at the cover, I read the blurb and I smell the book. Is it strange, or am I just a sensory person? Do I need to please all four of my senses before I can choose a book to purchase? Or is this just me spinning back to my childhood?
The pages of books have hundreds of volatile organic compounds that make up its structure. Over time, the volatile organic compounds break down, releasing chemicals into the air, thus creating that perfect old book scent. This is what I love - the smell of something that is not what it once was. But it's more than that. It's the history; who read it before me. New books have their own smell and these appeal to me just as much, even though they are yet to release chemicals.
Am I alone? Is there anyone else out there that has to sniff before they buy?