Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.
Why secondhand bookstores smell good
Perfumes: The Guide (via YMFY)
Ah, that’s the secret of that wonderful old book smell.
(Except at the University library in Konstanz – there it’s asbestos…)