Monday, September 26, 2016

Advantages to Marking Up Electronic Books

Share it Please
My students are learning digital literacy by studying from Kindle ebooks in my Shakespeare courses this year. We are exploring the brave new worlds of ebook literacy from various angles. In this post: advantages of highlighting passages and making notes within Kindle ebooks:

  • Ebooks and their notes are preserved in the cloud
    You can lose your electronic device, but you won't lose the ebooks that are associated with your Amazon account, nor any of the things you've marked in those ebooks. This means you can actually find those books and notes. With nearly 50 years of reading behind me, I sure wish I could keep track of the books I've read, and would love to have an easy way to rediscover my interactions with those books.
  • Ebooks and their notes are synchronized
    In the digital age we tend to hope from one device to another, and Amazon has made it simple to keep one's reading continuous: I can highlight a passage or insert a note while reading Henry V on my Kindle device, then find that same  highlighting or note when looking at this ebook via or within the Kindle app on my iPad or my Android phone.  (And I'm not even going to discuss the seamless way Amazon makes it possible to alternate seamlessly between audiobook and ebook versions across devices!)
  • You can collate and edit your highlights and notes.
    Amazon has features on its Kindle devices and apps whereby it will extract and list all in one place the highlighting and notes you've done within your ebooks. Or, on a web browser, you can see every highlight and note you took, extracted from but also linked to the full ebook, at Your Highlights at That's something one could never do with a print book, and is especially helpful for those anticipating doing some kind of analysis or book review. You can clean up your highlights and notes, going back to the text for context, and clarifying some of the cryptic ways we tend to make notes on the fly.
  • You can review your highlights and notes
    Through its "Daily Review" feature that appears at the top of when you are logged in, Amazon generates electronic flashcards with one highlighted passage/note at a time, another way to return to and page through one's highlights and notes. This is semi-automated, too, so that books are returned to the queue for you to review again later. 

The Daily Review feature reminded me of a passage I highlighted
and note I made when reading this ebook a couple years ago

One last advantage -- perhaps one that surpasses all the others -- has to do with how one can socialize one's reading in new ways through Kindle ebooks and the Amazon platform. This, however, I will save for a separate post of its own.

No comments:

Post a Comment