Friday, January 9, 2009

That RPG Book Smell

As much as I love my RPG pdfs, and as convenient and as handy as they've been, there's one area they can't hold a candle to my print RPGs--that "book smell". I've always thought books have the greatest smell about them--walk into a library, and just smell all that paper and print!

New RPGs and old RPGs also seem to have their own distinct smells--new RPGs smell a little sharper, have a bit more of a glue-y smell. On older books, its a little musty, but the paper takes on a scent of more subtle gravity. If they made a Yankee Candle out of it, I'd definitely pick it up.

The room in my old FLGS that had all the used RPGs in it just smelled like gaming, you know? I don't mean geek sweat and Mountain Dew, either. I'm talking about rummaging through your Player's Handbook some late Saturday night, or looking through a bunch of books during character generation for a new RPG.

I don't make a habit of going around and sniffing books, but it is something I've noticed, and I don't think I'm alone. Until there's scratch n' sniff pdfs, deadtree is going to be sticking around.


Jack Crow said...

Wow, I know exactly what you mean. I have a lot of pdf's but they just don't do it like print does. I'm also a graphic designer so nothing is better than holding new print in your hands. I've got to go fondle... I mean read my RPG books now.

Bonemaster said...

I love the smell/feel of books too. I do think that at some point a device similar to the Amazon Kindle will replace most our books. Those of us who still read actual books, will be thought of as eccentric.

Chgowiz said...

They can pry my printed page outta my cold dead fingers... no, the other fingers, THOSE fingers are still holding onto my dice.

I know exactly what you mean. I love going into old book stores - it's almost like you have to hush and walk carefully. It's almost spiritual.

I don't think the digital age will have that in the near term. Of course, our kids 20/30 years from now might be saying the same thing about game stores...

stu2000 said...

It's funny you should bring that up. I was thinking the other day about books with particular smells. The Arduin books didn't smell like other books. Nor did Space: 1889. The Fudge 10th Anniversary book has a smell remini-scent of those old books. Fewer books these days have as distinctive a smell. And many don't smell very good at all.

machfront said...

Oh, I can't help but smell a book when I pick it up. I love that smell.

The one that stands out the most is my GW softcover of WFRP. From the day I bought it, it had a strong and distinctive smell unlike any book I'd ever known then or now. It was almost unpleasent. Now, after almost 16 years, even though it's resided in my smokey still smells exactly the same way it did when I bought it new.


DNAphil said...

My 1st Ed Players Handbook has this great musty smell. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this post.

I will never give up my paper RPG's. While I love having copies of all my RPG books in PDF, I have to have at least my core books in hardcopy.

Perrin Rynning said...

I have walked into more than one game store just to take a deep breath in through my nose. There is nothing on this earth that smells so wonderful.
Admittedly, it probably results from a combination of ink and glue in the books with the plastic packaging of other accessories as well as the dice... ah, the dice... but it's still guaranteed to lighten my day.