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sensual reading

Books also give off special smells. According to a recent survey of French students, 43 percent consider smell to be one of the most important qualities of printed books—so important that they resist buying odorless electronic books. CaféScribe, a French on-line publisher, is trying to counteract that reaction by giving its customers a sticker that will give off a fusty, bookish smell when it is attached to their computers.

From The Library in the New Age, by Robert Darnton, in the NY Review of Books [tipped by mitch]


  1. Kara Kara 2008-05-27

    That’s silly. It’s not just the smell, although that *is* extremely important…. it’s the the feel of the paper, of the edges of the pages, it’s the way the pages feel when you turn them. It’s the colors of the paper and ink. It’s the way the binding looks. It’s the way the cover feels when you open it. It’s cover art and typeface. (I love the page in the back of some books that tells you who designed the typeface, and when!)

    Also, different books have different smells. Are they going to provide a mix-n-match sticker sampler? ;-) I don’t want my lovely glossy new non-fiction trade paperback to smell like my first edition 84 charing cross road.

    I’ll read an e-book if it’s a reading emergency, but I just don’t enjoy it the way I enjoy a real book.

  2. Hugh Hugh 2008-05-28

    yes, i think that physical books actually contain all sorts of information beyond the “mere” text.

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