Almond, Vanilla or Nutmeg? Let’s Talk about Book Smells!


New books smell crisp and very different from old books.

Professor Faber, the bibliophile in Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” sniffs a book and says: “Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land?” His simple observation embodies our love affair with traditional books, which endures because of how they feel in our hands and also how they smell.

The paper, ink, and binding used in producing a book create its distinct smell. What’s your favorite book smell?

New Books vs. Old Books

New books have a different smell compared to old books, according to a video by Scieshow called, “Why Do Old Books Smell So Good?” New books smell crisp and fresh while old books smell like almond, vanilla, coffee, cut grass—or as Faber points out, like nutmeg.

The chemical compounds found in a book’s paper and binding are the source of the smells, especially after they have interacted with light, heat, and moisture.

The Scieshow channel on YouTube explores scientific subjects that people find surprising and pique their curiosity.

Watch another book-related video:

Do You Know What Makes a Book a Book?


Leave a comment


  1. lynettedavis

     /  August 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on Memoir Notes.

  2. Very interesting!

  3. I just stumbled upon this post – I love it! There is something incredibly warming about the smell of an old book. I also love the feeling of worn pages. Holding an actual, physical book in your hands really tunes in all of your senses. Makes me want to curl up with a book right now!

    • I love the smell and feel of a physical book, too. These are the things I can’t give up! I do read e-books, but not as often as hard copy. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  1. Just like Your Body, Your Mind Needs a Daily Workout | Cindy Fazzi
  2. Why Do We Need Literature? Four Unexpected Benefits | Cindy Fazzi
  3. Writing Tips: Basic Rules to Remember About Comma | Cindy Fazzi
  4. 11 Things Only Bookworms Will Understand | Cindy Fazzi
  5. Who versus Whom: Remember Just One Rule | Cindy Fazzi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: