13 thoughts on “Sandwich Board Outside Brand Books

  1. For myself, I have many a happy memory of the scent of a new Ipad, smelling of newly minted foam and freshly cured plastic.

  2. Ray Bradbury complained computers were not creative. And since he didn’t use them so how could he know what they smelled like? Bless him, he had his cranky side.

    There was an aside in a Filmfax article and interview that he hated Robbie the Robot. Ray Bradbury was a heretic.

  3. That new book smell… you mean ink? I don’t know how much I really ever got off on the smell of ink. It’s kinda exciting, because you associate it with a new book that excites. But it also smells sort of carcinogenic. I also like the smell of gasoline and have pleasant memories from when I was a kid and sat in the car while it was filled up. I doubt the smell of gas was good for me, though.

    As books get older, I haven’t noticed much smell other than, perhaps, a kind of mustiness. Old warehouses and attics smell rather similar, so I assume most of the smell is from dust. One speculates that a book shelf that was frequently dusted may not have evoked so many pleasant memories for Bradbury.

    As for computers, it is hard to be romantic about them. If we think back to our first computers, most of us curse under our breath, because they were feeble, cranky, undependable gizmos that could be far more trouble to use than a simple pad and pencil. Probably only programmers feel pangs of nostalgia for their Commodore 64 or Amiga. Computers have clearly; increased their usefulness since then, but one box looks much like another box — the improvements inside are largely out of sight, out of mind.

    But do they enhance creativity? Yes. I’d have to say so. I don’t know about Ray Bradbury, who may have been so accustomed to using a quill pen and parchment that he could envision no better way that to scratch things out and make changes below or above the line, but I’ve found the computer opened a whole new world for expressing myself by the written word. When I had to write with a typewritter, my manuscripts looked like shit. And one revision is all they would ever likely receive, as I vainly attempted to type a “clean” copy. Once I started writing on the computer, I could make as many changes as I wanted, even lift whole portions of the text from one place and drop it into another, in mere seconds. It was helpful, too, that a spellchecker could catch my worst mistakes in spelling for me. My writing soared from a few thousand words per year, at most, to some figure between 50 and 100 thousand. Nor was it just an increase in verbosity. Clearly, with that practice, I’ve grown greatly more skilled. At least so a few close friends tell me…

    So it appears as thought the computer has affected Ray Bradbury’s life little and by his own statement hasn’t enhanced his writing in any way. But it’s just as clear that this is not the case for everyone.

  4. I feel a certain amount of nostalgia for the Model 33 Teletype that I used for writing my first programs, on a timesharing mainframe computer at the other end of a phone line. And for the PDP-9 minicomputer that was the first one I actually had physical access to.

    The smell of old books is, I think, not the smell of dust but the smell of oxidizing paper, which has undergone “slow burn”, turning the edges slightly brown. It’s an aroma well-known to people who frequent used-book stores.

  5. New books smell not of ink, but of fresh paper. Different publishers use different paper stocks, I guess, because sometimes their books smell different from each others’.

    Despite Ray, computers can and often do have a smell. They smell, I guess, of ozone and metal flakes. Whether you like the smell is another matter.

  6. I have an old Bullfinch’s MYTHOLOGY book. It was printed on slick hemp paper, and one of its previous owners must have burnt hickory wood when he spent evenings in front of the fire with it. Not only have I read it, I’ve sniffed over the mythology.

    Modern book printing–and some not too old fanzines–bother me because they have used soy based ink. It smears and decays.

  7. Wish I still had the mimeo I bought from Sears back in the early 70s, mimeo fanzines were the best smell ever.

  8. Hey Tony, I did my earliest fanzines on a Sears ink-drum mimeo. Lot of oil in that ink. Really needed twiltone paper to blot it up. Could probably get the same smell today whiffing motor oil.

  9. Mike: Twiltone! That’s the paper I was trying to remember! My memory’s not as good as it used to be… But there just was something about the smell of those fanzines…aaahhhhh

  10. I always thought that the smell of fanzines came more from the Twil-Tone than from the ink. I probably still have a few reams of Twil-Tone paper in my attic, near my old Rex Rotary mimeo and my antique wood-chassis ABDick Model 10 “Edison Rotary Mimeograph”.

    I googled to check the correct spelling and capitalization of Twil-Tone, which I had right except for the hyphen. The first google result was from file770.com, and most of the rest of the first page are fanzine-related results, except for two pages about the trademark. The registration for the trademark “TWILTONE COLORFUL MIMEO PAPER” appears to have expired just under 11 years ago, 44 years after it was registered. At the bottom of that first results page is a Rotsler illo.

  11. Worth mentioning that you actually own a printed book – whereas an eBook is only licensed by you from the retailer! I like the idea of being able to keep what I buy a lot more!

    I do use an ereader though – on occasion if I need something quickly or for public domain.

    I’m not big into smell, but actually looking at a printed book is better than having a file on a slab of electronics IMO.

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