I have a friend who once gave me a picture book. Not because the writing or the illustrations were anything special, but because the smell of the book reminded him of the books of his youth.
I was directed to an article about the sensory experience and books. Interesting reading to be sure!
Unfortunately, in the library biz, we often have to deal with unpleasant smells from books. There are the books that have been returned by chain smokers. These are relegated to the "stinky box" where they sit for several days side-by-side with charcoal briquets. The smell, though, never quite leaves.
Then there are those donated books that people claim are in excellent shape, but in reality have been sitting for an extended period of time in a garage or basement. These books reek of mold and mildew. Some people are highly allergic to mold, and, mold can spread, so one moldy book can end up infecting scores of others! For these reasons, we ask that people do not bring in moldy books. If they do, the books are quickly removed and thrown in the trash!
Do you understand how your nose operates? The Senses (part of the "Your Body: How It Works" series) by Douglas B. Light [612.8 LIG] provides a basic overview. Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses [612.8 ACK] and A User's Guide to the Brain by John J. Ratey [612.8 RAT], both provide more detailed information about the sense of smell and its link to emotions and memory.