Why We Love The Smell Of Old Books

by Moin Uddin Ahmed Tipu

There are certain strange smells that always seem to get us–old books, summer rain, gasoline….?! While they can be attached to fond memories, there’s more going on here. Trace breaks down the intoxicating chemistry behind several of our favorite funky aromas.

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Read More:
How Smell Works

“Smell is often our first response to stimuli. It alerts us to fire before we see flames.”

That “Old Book Smell” Is a Mix of Grass and Vanilla

“Smell is chemistry, and the chemistry of old books gives your cherished tomes their scent.”

Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books

“We successfully transferred and applied -omics concepts to the study of material degradation, in particular historic paper.”


“Though the legal age to pump gas in Connecticut is 16, filling my Mom’s Ford Explorer was my second favorite activity growing up (after coloring).”

What Makes Rain Smell So Good?

“Step outside after the first storm after a dry spell and it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain.”

The smell of freshly-cut grass is actually a plant distress call

“The lovely scent of cut grass is the reek of plant anguish: When attacked, plants release airborne chemical compounds.”

What Exactly Is That New Car Smell?

“The smell of a new car is intoxicating.”

Watch More:
The Smell of Attraction:
Farm Stink Makes You Sick:
Vines Hate You :


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Leave a Comment


Cindy Lay May 21, 2016 - 7:58 AM

I also LOVE the smell of gas stations o-o

Baba Is So Fly May 26, 2016 - 10:04 AM

NOne of the reasons given for liking those things is true.

K a i August 23, 2016 - 1:57 AM

By that logic, people have good experiences while farting?

Mahkai Benjamin September 16, 2016 - 11:33 PM


NoName September 29, 2016 - 10:57 AM

You missed the smell of coffee and WD40.

Riley Grey October 11, 2016 - 1:22 AM

Cut grass and gasoline smells awful. Not sure why people like them

Marilyn Addams October 13, 2016 - 4:00 AM

I love vanilla, cinnamon, the smell inside of Haunted Mansion Holiday (a mix of gingerbread, rotting wood, and dust. I found a candle that smells like it at Bath & Body Works called caramel pumpkin swirl), and petrichor.

musicclasical January 25, 2017 - 4:17 AM

Is it just me who doesn't like the smell of freshly cut grass?🤔

Your real dad April 9, 2017 - 12:20 AM

Why do some books smell like someone literally wiped their asshole on it tho

Seth M June 24, 2017 - 1:53 AM

I absolutely LOVE the smell of old typewriters!

Seetiyan July 8, 2017 - 9:59 AM

Who the hell likes the smell of gasoline? I'm guessing that's a rare one.

Bishop July 26, 2017 - 9:59 PM

Cedar wood

Hello September 2, 2017 - 9:45 PM

+Seeker is audiobooks the same as reading books for making your brain better?

Kim Zarnowski October 7, 2017 - 1:19 PM

My grandpa's butane lighter!!! The crawlspace of my childhood home!! The wood and glue smell from my dollhouse that my dad built for me! Mom's Christmas cookies baking in oven!

Max Poppe February 10, 2018 - 3:35 AM

wow the best smells in the world in one video

Maria Rocha August 9, 2018 - 9:04 AM

I love wet dirt smell, old buildings, and class rooms.

David K November 3, 2018 - 1:22 AM


Heather s December 25, 2018 - 6:40 AM

New and old books, wood burning, auto parts shops, crayons, New shoes/shoe stores. I have other smells that I love but too many to list.

lulu February 19, 2019 - 11:27 AM

I like to smell old books..new book,airconditioner,car,hotel,library,gasoline,paper,mint oil,new cloth

Roberto Serrini • The Travelclast June 13, 2019 - 10:56 PM

Ligned? Lipned? Whatever it is I love it.

Mk3 August 3, 2019 - 5:39 PM

I love the smell inside of new airplanes.
And nail polish, fresh bread, frying garlic and onion, the ink and paper of some printed receipts, colognes, oh my, so many good smells in the world, those are just some of them haha

I Kins August 26, 2019 - 12:18 PM

I love the smell of old books, but I don’t like the new car smell. I don’t think the two are tied in my case

Roland September 11, 2019 - 10:10 PM

Who the hell likes the smell of Gasoline? Those people are weird!

Sarcastic Demon September 18, 2019 - 5:38 AM

I like the smell of old books and crayons. 😊

Sharkyplaze productions January 26, 2020 - 10:49 AM

I can’t smell

A E O N June 9, 2020 - 9:10 PM

I like the smell of rain and concrete. Pretty depressing. Well, books too.

Eric Moressa October 23, 2020 - 9:29 AM

Lol Halloween costumes is one for me

Jeremy Heartriter2.0 December 8, 2020 - 8:25 PM

The smell of blown off match stick, the smell of burning autumn leaves 🥺

Its K December 10, 2020 - 3:44 PM

Anyone on 2021 nor 2020?

Chotta Bheem December 27, 2020 - 2:22 PM

When we smells book ..Any side effects or causes would be happen???

RS_Shadow February 17, 2021 - 8:50 AM

The smell of an empty room

Nusrat Jahan March 1, 2021 - 10:07 AM

But I love smell from new books

Cassidy French March 9, 2021 - 3:42 AM


Гальванизированный Труп August 3, 2021 - 5:05 AM

amazing thanks

Boris's Normal Stuff November 9, 2021 - 2:43 AM

I love smellin books it just relaxes me