I’m A Book Sniffer

By Posted on 10 Comments 2 min read

I have to admit it, I’m a book sniffer! There, I’ve said it! It’s something I’ve been compelled to do as far back as I can remember. I don’t know why, it just happened, and continues to do so to this day. On any Saturday afternoon, I can’t get past my local Waterstones bookshop without being forced to get amongst the hundreds of new titles all waiting to be lifted off the shelf and sniffed.

I’ve got it down to a fine art in my branch of Waterstones. After all, you couldn’t just walk in off the street and start ‘sniffing’ every book they have in stock, well you could, but I think you’d soon be out on your ear. I go upstairs, and to the far end of the shop they have a little corner of books tucked out of the way. It’s the ‘Social History’ section, so it’s usually pretty quiet. Once there, I can check to see no one is looking and then tuck in! Pages and pages, some glossy, some matt and even some with a velvety sheen to them.

Oooooh, heaven scent, er sent! An aroma of Vanilla followed by a petroleum smell like that you get from a freshly printed glossy magazine. Every now and then someone will turn up in my little corner of self indulgent sniffdom and I have to stop. I wonder if they’re a ‘sniffer’ too. Perhaps everyone in the shop is a secret sniffer, all trying to find a place where they can sniff happily in solitude. Who knows?

Not every book has a pleasant smell. I bought a second hand book off ebay a few years ago. I can’t remember the title but it was about football in the 1950’s, so it was quite an old book. As soon as the Postman had delivered it, I tore away at the packing, freed the book, opened it roughly in the middle and dived straight in for a full blown whiff! Eurgggghhhhhhhhhh! It was vile! I think it had been stored for years in one of those outside toilets. I couldn’t even read it the smell was so pungent. In the end I wrapped it up and gave it to my cousin for a birthday present.

I’d love to know if you’re a sniffer.

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10 Comments
  • Scott
    February 3, 2016

    Aye! I hope your cousin is at the age where the sense of smell is no longer an issue. If not, I wonder if her has another cousin than yourself?

    • admin
      February 3, 2016

      He was a he. He would send me out of date fresh fish for Christmas.

  • angloswiss
    February 3, 2016

    I would advise an urgent change to Kindle – they don’t smell and help you go cold turkey.

    • admin
      February 3, 2016

      Thank you. I do have a Kindle, but it’s just not the same.

  • Embeecee
    February 3, 2016

    Yep, I’m a sniffer. I think it would be a tragedy NEVER to smell the unique smell of a good book (or even the pungent odiferousness of the football one you had) ever again. I give those who try to foist Kindle or I-reader or whatever upon ME a look akin to one I get from young folks whom I try to tell about the joys of sniffing. Books. These young folks look at me as if I’ve suddenly grown another head or something, and they start speaking softly and moving slowly, sort of like you do around a dog of uncertain temperament, which you aren’t sure isn’t going to bite you. I guess I am pretty rabid about the joys of handling (and smelling) hard (or soft) bound books. Nothing like it on the ‘net , that’s for sure!!

    • admin
      February 3, 2016

      Yay. I knew there were other sniffers. You’re right with every word, Kindles just aren’t the same as a tactile book.

  • jacquelineobyikocha
    February 4, 2016

    I actually love the smell of books and I thinknow asides from loving to read, that intoxicating smell keeps me going back 😄

    • admin
      February 4, 2016

      Thank you. You are right, one of the things that will always keep books here for years to come is the smell. Like a freshly baked loaf of bread, a new book is a treasure

  • Lol, great post kept me laughing😂 I guess I never thought about sniffing books, although, I remember how I loved the smell of the freshly printed sheets in school from the old copiers!

    • admin
      February 4, 2016

      Thank you. I remember those old copiers, they had that purple/blue ink that had a strong smell to it. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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