‘Parfum de Librairie’

A stack of books - Little Women, Nineteen Eighty-four, Twelfth Night sit on a blue crochet blanket


Are you missing the familiar aroma of over 20,000 titles to be found in our Bookshop? This attachment to the smell of books has been recognised in  Japan where, “the smell of old books was deemed so valuable that, in 2001, Japan’s Ministry of Environment listed the smell of the Kanda Old Bookstore Town, near Tokyo, in its 100 Most Fragrant Landscapes.

Perhaps this is not surprising when our sense of smell is so closely linked with memory – probably more evocative than any other sense. And so, if you are missing your visits to the Bookshop while we are temporarily closed, simply open up an old book close to your nose, inhale, and let your memory do the rest.

Read more about the smell of bookshops, nostalgia, and the science behind it by following this link:

‘Chocolate, grass clippings and old socks — why do old books have such a distinct smell?’

And for more on Kanda Old Bookstore Town :


And taking the research and protection of heritage character scents even further:

The people trying to save scents from extinction  (BBC Future article)

…Imagine an old leather-bound book just pulled out from a wooden shelf. Its yellowed pages release dust as they open. Even before you begin to read the book, the unique smell of it fills your nose.

This familiar scent is not only a simple pleasure for people who like to peruse libraries and bookshops. These smells have a cultural heritage value, and they are at risk of being lost. For every old book that falls apart, is thrown away or kept locked behind a temperature-controlled curatorial door, these scents become harder to experience. It is a problem that is far from unique to books – from perfumeries and pubs to entire cities, the background scents of our lives are changing all the time.”  Read on…

Take care, read well, and we look forward to seeing you back in the Bookshop when we reopen. From all of us at the Oxfam Second Hand Bookshop in Adelaide. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥



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