If you’ve ever spent any time with old books, or stepped into the right used bookstore, you’ve encountered that distinctive smell. Produced by Abe’s Books, and drawing on research from chemists at University College, London, this video looks at the science behind the aroma of used books — at what happens when chemicals and organic matter confront heat, light, moisture and time.
When you’re done watching the video, you might want to spend time with a second clip that deals with another part of the lifecycle of the book — the birth of a book. Shot by Glen Milner at Smith-Settle Printers in Leeds, England, this short film lets you watch firsthand a book — Suzanne St Albans’ Mango and Mimosa — being made with old school printing methods. Enjoy.