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Afraid of Annotating Your Books? Check Out These Alternatives!

If you’re the kind of person who hates writing on your books, like me, then you’ve struggled to find ways to highlight your favourite passages or keep note of your thoughts and speculations while reading. I envy people who can take up a pen and simply write on the margins of their books, or even in between passages, highlighting favourite lines with coloured highlighters, without a care in the world.

But some of us are too anxious to do that — we simply can’t get rid of the desire to keep our books looking as good as the day we bought it. You shouldn’t let that stop you, however. Here are some alternatives for bookworms who want to annotate their books without writing on them!

1. Use Post-Its

You can use post-it notes for when you have a lot to say — which we most often do. You can write basically anything: opinions about characters, some random thoughts that come to you while reading, speculations about the plot, etc.

You can stick these notes on the margins, or at the relevant passage or word, or even stick them in such a way that a part of them pokes out of the book, making it easier for you to find them later. You can color code your sticky notes according to your preference, creating a colour key before you start.

2. Use Clear Sheet Protectors

Post-its sound great… but they have a drawback. They cover a portion of your book when you stick them, making it difficult to reread. In that case, you can use clear sheet protectors which, in my opinion, is one of the most innovative inventions ever.

It’s all over bookstagram and booktok — readers annotating their books to their heart’s content without having to worry about ruining the pages. It’s not complex. You simply have to cut them to fit the page and paste it on the page you’re reading and write on the page as you normally would. Remember to add the page number at the top of the transparent page so you don’t forget where it’s from.

Once you’re done, you can remove the sheet and continue reading.

3. Highlight the Digital Version of the Book

If you have no problem reading ebooks (most readers have now adapted to it, due to its convenience, even if they consider the physical book to be superior), then try finding the ebook version of the novel you’re reading, and have it open on your e-reader, iPad or laptop (even your mobile!).

You can have both the ebook and the paperback open with you and, whenever you have something to annotate, you can use the e-book version. This might sound complicated and time-consuming but, personally, it’s my preferred method of annotation. Most reading apps come with some cool highlighting and note-taking features, so it can be a fun experience.

4. Use an App

If digital annotations sound good to you, but the above method a tad bit too complicated, you can use note-taking apps like Evernote, or OneNote (or even the simple Notes app).

The more sophisticated apps like Evernote come with some amazing features to help you keep your notes organized. You can even take a picture of the page you’re reading and annotate on it! 



Sharika Hafeez

Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.

June 27, 2022

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