Charles Dickens's copy of "A Christmas Carol" that he used for public readings. It smelled good. (Jen Carlson/Gothamist)

Mmm... old book smell: is there anything better? Here's a short piece discussing the odor that iPads and Kindles will never be able to recreate. In it you'll hear the NYPL's Thomas Lannon and Shelly Smith describe what they smell after sticking their noses in an old book, picking up hints of pockets, the inside of a purse, and onions! The smells differ from book to book, depending on paper quality and how the book has been stored; and the older the book is, the smellier it is (something about VOCs—volatile organic compounds—given off by paper as it degrades).

The folks at Bond No. 9 should really get on a New York Public Library scent (they've already bottled the High Line, Bryant Park, and other areas of NYC).