Let’s Talk Bookish – To Annotate or Not to Annotate

Aria @ Book Nook Bits will be the new host for Let’s Talk Bookish! If you aren’t following her yet, good check out her blog and give her a follow!


Prompts: …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 you’ve ever had to annotate books in school, does this affect your willingness to annotate the books you read for fun? What are some downsides to annotating books in your opinion?

Welcome back to another week of LTB here at DTRH! Actually last week in my exam haze I totally posted the “wrong” topic…! Luckily, this is a free week, so I shall use it to catch up on last week’s topic proper. Sorry about that!

Honestly, I refuse to annotate by doing anything permanent to any book. Even my textbooks, which I know are often annotated, remain completely blank. Something about re-sale value? Though I don’t even usually re-sell all my used books. I guess I was taught (by who…?) never to mark a book, and so I can’t even bring myself to dog-ear them or honestly even write in pencil.

No judgment against those who do though. If it’s your own book, feel free to mark it up however you’d like! In fact, I think there is definitely some charm in seeing notes in a second-hand book. After all, you get a glimpse into what someone else thought about the book, and it also makes you think about whether you agree with what the previous person has chosen to annotate.

I wouldn’t mind marking up an e-book though. As long as it’s erasable, I’d be okay with it. That being said though, if I do make notes, I usually make them on a separate piece of paper rather than writing into the book. After all, if I want to find that note later, it would be more trouble to look through the book and find my note than to have a separate piece of paper pointing to the page number and line I wanted to annotate. As for audiobooks…how does one annotate an audiobook? If you know, please let me know in the comments down below.

I still don’t want to annotate my books even for class. I see the people around me doing it now, but I still can’t bring myself to do it for some reason. I can’t even really think of the reason why, I think it’s just ingrained into me. I imagine that people who annotate their textbooks, etc., are more willing to annotate the books they read too (please let me know if this applies to you!), but I actually have no idea. I think for me, I always want to have the book in a condition where I can share it with someone else, free of my own ideas.

I suppose that’s a bit contradictory, to find it charming that I can read someone else’s thoughts if the book is marked up, yet not want to mark it up myself for the exact opposite reason of not wanting to affect someone else’s reading. I wonder if one way of thinking or the other is actually more dominant in our community…

All in all though, please keep your books in good condition and free of markings if it’s someone else’s book! The number of times I’ve gotten my book back in…horrendous conditions from lending it out…I’m sure many of you can relate. Why do people do that?! I will never know.


7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – To Annotate or Not to Annotate”

  1. When I was young books were too expensive to write in, books for University were particularly expensive – I remember one cost me £25 ($32) back in the very early 1990’s! That book was definitely being sold on when I finished with it, and writing in it would have lowered the resale value. I did put pieces of paper in between pages with notes and reminders on.
    I’m usually too ‘in the zone’ to make lots of notes on my kindle, though I do highlight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, I think sticky notes would be an awesome idea to revisit something! But beyond that I’m usually too in the zone to write in the middle of reading too

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Omgoodness, people borrow your books and return them marked up? 🤯 I could never! I don’t think I ever marked up my school textbooks or any of the required reading books because those all belonged to the school. I don’t know if anyone else ever did it but I always assumed I’d get in trouble if I ever did 😂 I occasionally mark up my books now when I’m reading physical books but only if I know that I’m going to keep this book or if I want to get rid of it I’d just give it away and not try to sell it. Most of my annotations are just sticky tabs though cos I quite enjoy flipping back through the tabs I’ve made as it helps refresh my memory when reviewing, too. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I lent out my favourite book when I was younger and it was obviously in great condition. I got it back and it looked like it went through a washing machine. I was so devastated…
      And yeah I think sticky tabs really are the way to go!


  3. It’s so frustrating when you lend books, and they’re returned in bad condition; once, I lent a friend a book and it was returned without the dust jacket 😭 I think that in general, do whatever you want with your own books, but borrowed books you’ve got to leave alone. Great post 🥰


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