The Thing About Kindle You Might Not Know

September 16, 2010

In some of the discussions weighing the pros and cons of ebooks, there is one significant point that I think is often overlooked. For my use, it is one of the most important. And Kindle ebooks do it best.

I capture digital notes from most books that I read. That might be underlined passages, or notes made in the margins. It’s good review of a book, and often a helpful resource later in the searchability of SimpleNote. With a Kindle e-reader, these notes are captured in a text file, but that doesn’t work if you are using the Kindle app on an iPad or iPhone. But…

Kindle has a fantastic website for referencing your Kindle notes and highlights at Most people don’t seem to be aware of it — I don’t recall how I found this as it’s not linked prominently on Amazon.

Once you login, the site offers you the ability to review flashcards of some of your notes from books that it selects. You can adjust what books show up, and how often. I’ve not used this, but I can see how it might be useful in some instances.

What is most helpful is that all of my purchased books are available, and I can see my highlights and notes, and even the most frequently highlighted passages from others. I’m finding this helpful in a couple of ways:

  1. The Kindle app won’t let you copy text to the clipboard. But, if I’m reading and find a quote I want to blog, I highlight it. I can jump into these notes, copy the quote and post it. It’s more steps than the clipboard would be, but it’s also saved for the longterm, which brings me to…
  2. When I finish a book, I go into this website, copy all of my notes from a book, and drop them into my book notes in SimpleNote/Notational Velocity. If I have sometime, I’ll even spend a few minutes reviewing them to let some of the highlights of the book sit with me.

This feature alone makes the Kindle app my reading app of choice. I’ve read one book with Apple’s iBooks app. It lets you browse your highlight, but there is no means to access them otherwise. As for the Nook app, I’m not sure as I haven’t used it. Can anyone else speak to that?

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