Let’s Talk Bookish: To Annotate or Not To Annotate

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts. Today’s topic is To Annotate or Not To Annotate.

To Annotate or Not To Annotate….that is the question. Do you like annotating books? If so, how do you annotate them? Is there a difference for you between ebooks, physical books, and audiobooks?

If it’s the traditional form of annotating that we’re talking about, like highlighting lines or writing comments in the margins, then never. I wouldn’t dream of ever annotating directly in a book because it’s akin to defacing the book for me. Using sticky notes is marginally better, but I don’t like that idea much either, because the ink could still stain, or if you’re careless taking out the sticky note, the page could tear. I do digitally annotate my books however. I track all my reading using Notion and I take notes on my phone through the app while reading, and it’s really useful when I’m writing the review for it later too.

If I don’t have access to Notion while reading for some reason, I use the notes app on my phone instead and transfer the information over later. If for whatever reason I don’t have my phone or laptop handy, a piece of paper works just fine in a pinch – I’ll tuck it away next to the bookmark in the book and type it out when I next have a chance. Basically, I’ll take every possible route that doesn’t involve me writing in a book.

Ebooks are the easiest medium to annotate, as Kindles and other e-readers or apps often make it possible to not only highlight passages within the book but also take notes. I used to make notes on my Kindle for ebooks, but the model I have is an older one and the typing experience isn’t the best, so I use it only if I don’t have my Notion app handy. Physical books are a little harder to annotate in this fashion, but I’m more or less used to it now. Audiobooks on the other hand, are the hardest, because I listen to them when I’m often busy with something else, so I can’t take notes. I just place a marker in the audio at that point and hope I remember what I wanted to mention there later.

If you’ve ever had to annotate books in school, does this affect your willingness to annotate the books you read for fun?

I’ve never had to annotate books for school and the few times I had to reflect on a book, I always used to take notes somewhere else, in a notebook or on a piece of paper. I also used to place blank sticky tags in my university textbooks that made it easier to study. When it comes to something like annotating, all books are more or less the same for me in that every book I own has to be in the best condition as I can keep it in, whether it’s a textbook or a novel, so writing in one is out of the question in either scenario.

What are some downsides to annotating books in your opinion?

Directly annotating a book could possibly ruin it, but I really see no downsides of annotating in general. Personally, the style in which I annotate is more or less writing down my exact reactions to the book as I go, along with some deeper observations. When I come back to it, I can relive the first reading experience all over again and if I’m rereading, I have a way to compare my perspective on the story and see if it has changed, or if I have something new to say about it too.

Do you annotate your books? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: To Annotate or Not To Annotate

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) April 24, 2022 / 7:02 pm

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! Agreed, the idea of writing in a book is not something I’d even think of!


  1. readandreviewit1 April 22, 2022 / 11:53 am

    This was really interesting! I only ever annotate my books for school as I find it easier to go back to, but I’d never do it on my other physical books! I think annotating on ebooks is a great alternative if you use them. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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