Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The smell of books

Andy LePeau, the publisher at IVP, has a nice post today about the smell of books. I agree with him. I remember when I was a kid, burying my head in a good used book. The smell was wonderful; it would transport you miles away.

The modern bookstores don't have that same smell. Sure, I love the smell of coffee, but it doesn't compare to the smell of books. Give me the twisted aisles of a used bookstore, with stacks of books all over the place, or the jam-packed shelves of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago any day. There's just something about the smell of a book...

When I was a kid, growing up on the campus of UW-Stout, every spring they would run a Friends of the Library type sale in the basement of Harvey Hall. They would set up tables in the basement hallway, which was extra-wide, and load them with used books. I have no idea where the books came from, but there were lots. And the pricing was wonderful–5 cents for paperbacks and 10 cents for cloth. I would load up bags of books and spend almost nothing. At that price, you could afford to take a gamble on a book. I probably only read 60% of what I bought, but it was wonderful. And the smell of the books; they were used, some very well used, and somewhat musty. I couldn't wait to get them home (all of about 2 blocks) and start reading them...I'm still a sucker for a used bookstore :)

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