I never set out to be a book sniffer. Few of us bookworms ever talk about it, though most of us are aware of the strange practice. I’m not sure this is something nonreaders enjoy, but I know most of us love the smell of books.
Is it weird that I know exactly what book on my shelf smells the best? My copy of Wuthering Heights, which I’ve had for over ten years, continues to win the best-smelling-book award. I’m pretty sure I’ve taken a whiff of every book on my shelf. Although smelling books in a bookstore is less common for me (ever been caught smelling books by a stranger? I have, it’s somewhat embarrassing), book smelling at home is something I do on a regular basis.
Book sniffing is part of that little ritual I do when I recieve books in the mail. As I write this, I am expecting two books, so this is what I will be doing later. I open the package, take out my new books, I check for wear (I have this thing where I hate when new books come in the mail looking used, so I have to check to make sure everything looks good). I like to run my fingers down the spines and look at the cover art. Sometimes I’ll read the dust jacket, dedication, and flip to the back for the author bio (I also do these three things before starting a book). Then I open it right in the middle and take a nice whiff. Heavenly.
There is just something really relaxing about this fragrance. Some people find lavender or vanilla scented candles to their liking, but for me there is something so subtle and infinitely lovely about the smell of books. I haven’t gotten my hands on those book scented candles they sell on Etsy yet, but I’m dying to try them out!
Is it weird that my nose can recognize the difference between a new book smell and an old book smell? There used to be this used bookstore in my city and as soon as you walked in the door, you became submerged in that scent only old and used books have. There is nothing like it and it makes me terrible sad that this store went out of business.
I do have a few rules when it comes to booksniffing that I would like to share. Please note that I break rule number 1 and 4 all the time, but I try to be more discreet these days.
Are you a book sniffer? Do you know which book on your shelf smells the best? Do you prefer a new book or old book smell? Have you ever purchased a book-scented candle? Have any horror stories involving book sniffing in front of strangers? Share your thoughts in the comments!