If You Like Your E-Books Smelly, Have We Got the Product for You

By Carmen Comment

Reuters reports on an electronic textbook website, CafeScribe, that wants to cater to students’ needs so badly it is in the process of launching a line of e-books….that smell. A survey of 600 college students conducted by pollster Zogby International between August 15 and 21 found that 43 percent of students identified smell, either a new or old smell, as the quality they most liked about books as physical objects.

Six out of 10 students also preferred buying used textbooks over new or electronic textbooks even though e-books are generally a third less expensive. Hence, the “smelly e-book.” CafeScribe Chief Executive Bryce Johnson said that from September the company will send every e-textbook purchaser a scratch and sniff sticker with a musty “old book” smell. “By placing these stickers on their computers they can give their e-books the same musty book smell they know and love from used textbooks — without any of the residual DNA you often find stuck to the pages of used textbooks.” And somehow, I don’t think this initiative is going to make ebook sales pick up – but that might just be a wild hunch…