There’s nothing quite like the smell of an old bookshop.

For many, the musty scent of ageing books and decaying paper brings distinctive, memory-inducing joy.

And now, bibliophiles will be able to savour the aroma at home thanks to Wigtown Book Festival’s new fundraising plan.

Organisers are selling bottled Wigtown bookshop air for £10 a pop, with “special edition” bottles selling for £15.

While a bit tongue in cheek, it is hoped the sale will help to raise funds for the festival which has been forced online due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The fete promises to offer the “antidote to disembodied digital events” by offering a “slowaudio” recording of the sounds of the Dumfries and Galloway town, online whisky tasting from a local distillery and live video feeds of the area’s bookshops.

All of this is aimed at bringing the town to life “through the senses”.

Adrian Turpin, the festival’s artistic director, said: “Digital technology has been a lifeline during lockdown. But, as anyone who has sat through a morning of Zoom meetings knows, the online world can feel very disembodied.

“Wigtown is a distinctive place and we want to share its character with new and existing audiences in every way we can, putting the town in the public eye, nose and ear.

“The last six months have been a very difficult time and part of our aim is to offer the chance to have some fun.

“But there’s a serious point. The UK’s book festivals - large and small - are remarkable because they each reflect the places in which they take place.

“We want to cherish that diversity in every way, even at a time when we can’t gather ‘in real life’.

“We also hope that next year we will be able to welcome in person many of those who experience Wigtown for the first time through this digital event.”

The virtual festival will feature more than 80 guests across 10 days, including Anne Applebaum, Alastair Campbell, Andrew Marr and Maggie O’Farrell.

It will also feature the world premiere of Alexander McCall Smith’s Ninian’s Gift song cycle, which was completed during lockdown.

The song cycle includes music from composer Tom Cunningham with words from the novelist and reflects on the lives of early Scottish saints, including St Ninian who came by sea to Whithorn near Wigtown in the 4th century.

The piece will receive its world premiere on the opening evening of the festival, followed by a conversation with its creators.

The annual Magnusson Lecture - in honour of Magnus Magnusson and introduced by his daughter, broadcaster Sally Magnusson - will also be delivered by Rosemary Goring.

Ms Goring said: “It is an honour to be asked to give the Magnusson Lecture. I never imagined all those years ago when I worked with Magnus that I’d be able to pay tribute to him in this way. And since autumn without Wigtown Book Festival would be unthinkable, it’s terrific that it is going ahead.”

Last year, some 20,000 people visited the town for the festival, generating £4.2m for the local economy.

A key aim of this year’s event is to promote the local businesses which have been hit by the pandemic and will not benefit from the influx of festival goers this year.

Councillor Adam Wilson, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s events champion, said: “Great care has gone into the planning of the online Wigtown Book Festival this year.

“In normal years the mouth-watering line up of writers would have attracted many thousands of visitors to the national Book Town. I hope that the festival programme is a source of inspiration to online visitors, and that people can come in person to support and enjoy the bookshops of Wigtown soon.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, added: “As one of the country’s unique literary festivals, the team has organised a fantastic 10-day programme that brings Scotland’s national book town to life digitally.”

The festival will run from September 24 to October 4. For more information visit