What’s That Smell? Hmm?


What’s that smell? Seriously now, what is that smell?

I love my Kindle? I use it to buy and read all sorts of books. I buy photography books on the Kindle reader, and read them on the IPad.

I love it, because it saves space, I don’t have to lug heavy books with me when I travel, and I don’t have the “It’s the books or me” kind of argument with my wife. I have been reduced to one bookshelf, and my heart bleeds.

Yeah, my poor heart bleeds for me.

On a more serious note, we have, in India, bookstores that belong to somewhat large chains. When you ask one of the sales people about a book, that look into their computer and tell you, “it is on shelf 3, middle rack, in the History section”, completely oblivious of the fact that the book is actually about geography.

While I am not against computers, I do think that sometimes they serve a devious purpose.

You see, when you then ask this salesman about the book, he replies thus.

“It is about, hmmm, (then he tells you the title of the book”, and beams at you.

You ask, “Yes, but do you think it is well written?”

He replies, “Hummm… It is written by…”. Then, he points towards the author’s name and reads out his name

You ask, “Why is it in the history section? It is a book about geography.”

He replies, “Humm….. the computer assigned it to this section… I don’t know why. As per the computer code, it goes there – in the history section.” He then beams again..

These chaps have actually given their brains over to the algorithms written by the programmers of Google or some such company.

And then, there are book stores, like the one pictured above where the owners know their books. They know where the books are. They call you back when they order and get a book for you.

We do have such bookstores in Delhi. Sadly, they are a dying breed.

But, you see, when you enter such bookstores, they draw you in with their smell. The smell of books that are resting in a place where they belong, a smell of books that know that they are loved and respected.

Do you ever get that smell?


  1. Nice one! I sorely miss walking into bustling bookstores, sadly we have no such, as far as I know, in Chennai. Blossoms in Bangalore is still a place that gives me silverfishes for goosebumps though!

    1. Bangalore, in my days, used to have some really nice bookstores, as did Bombay and Poona. I am not that familiar with Madras (or, Chennai, if you will!). I used to travel there, but have not been back for 15 years

  2. Rare is the species called Bookstores. It kills me inside, makes me cringe. More so, when inefficient staff handles the books that we all love.

  3. I miss these types of smells too. There are still some ‘mom-and-pop’ family-owned independent bookstores in Tokyo…but I wonder how long they can survive 😦 When I studied in NYC, I loved the used bookstore called ‘Strand Bookstore’ 🙂

    1. In Bombay there is a wonderful old Bookstore called “Strand”. I may be in Bombay next week. I wonder if it is still the same

  4. You know I love the smell of ink? It is said that I have ink in my veins! I’ve been in printing and publishing over 25 years the first thing I do when I get a new magazine is smell it! Hot off the press still has an ink smell! One time one came fedex still damp!
    I love the smell of leather bound books! I love the process of gold leaf pages! Expensive too!
    There will always be the printed pieces because people still love to hold paper on their hands!
    I have a kindle too and I love it! But I still smell everything I see that is printed! Just a habit an odd one!
    I loved this post! 🌸🌺🌸🌺

      1. Oh yes I bet you have a Mont Blanc black with the white star on the end! I have a maroon one and of course a pink Cross pen! I love pens! 🕧bed time for me nighty nite

      2. I can tell a Mont Blanc person! I’ve seen your photos and I don’t know how I guess I’m used to certain types of people and their accessories! Do you wear cuff links? French cuffs?

      3. Nope… I am the torn jean kind of chap. My wife thinks that i am too old to be a teenager.
        I want a tattoo of Pan, but my son objects. he does not want his future kids to have a Gothic grandfather…
        btw… I am going to put you up for the 5-5-5 challenge…

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