Is there any special word for the smell of old books? I know about the use of musty to describe them. But I thought there could be a special word too, just like petrichor for the smell of fresh earth following rain.
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In most dictionaries, musty is not a word with particularly pleasant connotations, while the smell of books is one that has pleasant associations for me.
You can say that books are redolent of paper and ink, or you can simply refer to that "old book smell."
This article has some insight on why old books smell the way they do:
It's amusing to note that some enterprising folks are selling e-books with a scratch-and-sniff "book smell" sticker, and that others sell that "classic musty smell" or "new book smell" in a can. From Reuters:
Not all books smell the same. They may smell as "dusty", "musty", "mouldy", "paper-like" or "dry", "heart-warming". Please check smell of old books
Having searched the definitions of the OED for the words smell/scent and book/books, I have found no such word.
According to Strlič et al., the name currently is the smell of old books. (Material degradomics: on the smell of old books.)
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Apr 26 '12 at 21:35
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