Sweet and dusty, Demeter's Paperback doesn't make me think of a book, but I could imagine an old, beat-up library book smelling somewhat like this. After I checked out my bookshelf, I found that some of my old books that I haven't touched in ages almost has this smell, but I really doubt that, without being given the name, anyone could guess that Paperback is supposed to smell like books.
I really disliked this the first time I tried it, but I've since changed my mind. I'm just kind of neutral on it. The smell is weirdly sweet and I wasn't sure what to make of it for a very long time, but today I realized what it really reminds me of: Thai tea. Kind of out there to compare tea to books, but it really smells like dried, dusty Thai tea. Not the powdered version, just a cup of tea that dried up in the sun. Like everything else by Demeter, Paperback doesn't change, doesn't last very long, and has poor sillage. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, really, but if you're interested in this you wouldn't lose anything by sampling it. It's very inexpensive, after all.
I am a lifelong book-huffer (and reader, but maybe that's beside the point). I grew up in libraries. My dad was a university librarian. I spent as much time in the public library as I could, and much to my father's confusion, I love buying books, too. My first job was in a library. Now I work in publishing. I have probably spent something like 95% of my life within sniffing distance of bookshelves. I love the many smells of books.
Demeter Paperback doesn't even vaguely remind me of books. Not old books, not new books, at all. It's not unpleasant, but it doesn't smell of paper and dust, or of the places where books live, or of any of the many kinds of bindery glue, or even of old leather (though of course paperbacks don't smell of leather either). It doesn't smell of stale cigarette smoke and cat pee like certain used bookstores. It doesn't smell of industrial floor polish and stamp pad ink like a college library, or of kids' winter coats and old carpet and homeless job-seekers like a public library.
It does smell a little sweet, and quite a lot like Demeter's Dirt, which I think I prefer. I agree with themeglet that it's like old pipe tobacco, though maybe not one of the sugary cherry blends.
After reading the positive reviews (and being a closet demeter fan) I went out and bought the Paperback scent. I was hoping to jump into my experience at Powell's used books in Oregon, a full city block sized used book store which has a unique, and interestingly alluring smell. I can only describe the smell of Powells as paper, mold, dust, mice, patchoull, and coffee, in that order. Paperback from demeter is more or less a pleasant scent, but as I am learning with this interesting line, not one to be taken literally. You really need to use your imagination here to smell a book. To me, it is vanilla forward with a eucalyptus/camphor finish. Interesting mix. A little like vanilla fields but less sweet. yet more papery/which I have now figured out is conveyed as powder. Interesting, and smart. I am going to give it a neutral, but am very slightly leaning towards thumbs up.
28th December, 2010 (last edited: 27th January, 2011)
I used to have this perfume, but unfortunately, it was lost. It does have a pulpy, dusty smell, but also a sweet smell. Something like vanilla.
It wasn't a strong scent at all, it was very faint on me. The vanilla would fade out relatively quickly on my skin, and you'd just smell a hint of paper and ink.
The scent didn't last nearly as long on me as the other Pick Me Up spray I owned (Blue Hawaiian).
Paperback was a fun, interesting scent to wear, but I don't think I'll buy another.
My brother is a voracious reader so I bought this as a gag gift for him for his birthday. He loved it. At the party he sprayed it on and went around shoving his arm under everyone’s noses and ordering them to “Smell!” He actually wears it and he also uses it room spray in his home office. I must admit, I enjoy it, too: I intend to buy one for myself, which is a rare intention from me when it comes to Demeters. Of course that dusty, musty smell is the dominant one, and I can smell printing ink and a touch of that sharp acidy smell that comes from older, self-destructing paperbacks. Up ‘til now, it’s my second favorite Demeter after Dirt. These Demeter fragrances are fun.