This post has been fermenting for quite a while, perhaps like a good stinky cheese. In discussions around digital and print publishing, can we all agree to finally stop referring to the smell of print books?
Seriously. Just get over it. If the smell of books was that intoxicating, we'd dispense with reading altogether and just wander libraries, running our noses along the shelves. Bookshops would bottle the 'Essence of Book' and pump it out from their entrance, like cinemas do with popcorn. Connoisseurs would bore each other with detailed analyses of variations by region or era:
Honestly, the 1963 Penguins carry a little more cinnamon and a far less wet dog than their 1974 counterparts...
Books have many amazing qualities as an incredibly efficient and proven technology for storing ideas, knowledge, and stories. They are not a vehicle for transporting odour, although some of them may do so inadvertently. The greatest smell in the world won't save you from poorly written tripe.
Referring to the smell of books was once an emotional tug, designed to appeal to bibliophiles anxious that their preferred medium might be vanishing. Now it's just a lazy cliche. I'm wondering if we need to create a digital publishing version of Godwin's Law.
So either stop banging on about it or create your own bottled Essence of Book™. My cut is 10%.