What is annotating?

Annotating is a popular hobby in the bookish community. It can serve many purposes: for entertainment (adding your commentary to a story), as a form of art (illustrating meaningful scenes or decorating the book margins), as a form of sharing your thoughts (annotating a book for others to read and enjoy), or as a way to slow down and understand or enjoy a story more.

Annotating is a highly personal activity - your reasons, tools, and style will be completely unique to you - but we're here to give you a high level overview of how to annotate and answer common questions we get about annotating.

  • For Entertainment

    • They like to record emotions and reactions to the stories and characters.
    • They like to 'scrapbook' their reading experience.
    • They like to make notes of which lines and quotes were impactful, meaningful, or struck a chord in some way.
  • For Research

    • They like to track details, theories or strings through book series and interconnected books.
    • They like to have a quick reference when making social media content.
  • For Personal Reasons

    • They like collecting and using pens, tabs, and highlighters.
    • They like giving unique and personal gifts to other readers.
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What do people annotate?

This is the number one question we get about annotating!

The answer isn't straight forward though. What we annotate really depends on the book. We annotate our romance novels very differently than we annotate a series of fantasy books. Sometimes there is a lot of overlap and sometimes a book gets it's own unique annotation guide.

Let's look a several examples of things we annotate for:

Collapsible content

Fantasy Series

  • World Building | Powers, Orders, Magic Systems, Locations, Important Details
  • Main Characters | Important details, memorable lines, facts, and personality traits
  • Things to Remember | Details that cross throughout the books: foreshadowing, flashbacks, references to other events or books
  • Emotions | Scenes or lines that make you feel angry, sad, happy or make you laugh out loud
  • Spice | Everyone's favorite. ;) Scenes or lines that contain sweet moments, romance, and/or spice
  • Main Characters | Important details, memorable lines, facts, and personality traits

Romance Novels

  • Thoughts on the Storyline | Any thoughts that cross your mind as you're reading the story
  • Laugh Out Loud Moments | Scenes or lines that make you laugh
  • Quotes | Any lines that strike you as important or meaningful that you want to remember
  • Emotional Connection | Scenes or lines that cause an emotional reaction of some sort
  • Romance/Spice | Scenes or lines that contain sweet moments, romance, and/or spice

Ebooks

When annotating via a Kindle, you have limited options for colors, so typically we will use:

  • Laugh Out Loud | Scenes or lines that make us laugh
  • Emotional | Scenes or lines that generate a lot of emotion
  • Romance/Spice | Scenes or lines that contain sweet moments, romance, and/or spice
  • Other/Misc | Because there's only 4 color options, anything that doesn't fit into the first three categories I put here.

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Here's some specific book annotation examples from Ashley's Instagram!