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Ever wondered what causes the smell of old books? According to Richard from AbeBooks, chemists at University College, London have determined that “old books release hundreds of volatile organic compounds into the air from the paper.” This is often associated with the decay of the acidic paper that a lot of these books were printed on. See the video embedded below the jump.

Funny to think that the classic smell of old books is actually the aroma of paper rotting. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the same thing as the smell of more recent books, which book “purists” insist they will never give up.

 
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