Books April 13, 2012
Where Does That Old Book Smell Come From?

In this age of e-readers and tablets, some people are mourning the decline of physical books. Whether you've moved on to screens, or prefer curling up with a paper-bound tome, you're almost certainly familiar with the smell of an old book. But did you ever wonder what causes that smell?

At this point, we've seen lots of companies sneaking a marketing message into an informational video, and this one from online bookseller Abe Books is no exception. But it's still a fun look at an interesting question: what does cause that smell? Turns out there is a scientific basis for the scent that an old book gives off. While they may not agree with one scientist's assessment that the smell of old books includes some vanilla, they did come up with an explanation for the chemical reaction that causes both that unique scent, and the browned pages of older books:

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