As I read I am always looking for material to tuck away to make use in a talk or presentation in the future. I do that with printed books and I also do that with my Kindle books. I must admit it seems easier to me to do that with a printed book than an electronic one. I think I am a bit old school in this regard; I probably like the tactile mechanics of marking up a printed page. Let’s put that aside and talk about how to go about filing away key excerpts from a Kindle read.
Highlighting on the simple side
I am using a Nexus 7 to access my Kindle books. You might have to make some adjustments to customize this approach for your device. However, my methodology is very basic. I highlight text using one colour only, yellow by default. As with my annotation of printed texts I am not trying to create a comprehensive summary rather my highlights are zeroing in on ideas, stats, stories and memorable quotes. Material that I believe will be useful to me in the future.
If there is any complexity in my routine it is how I use the note feature imbedded in the Kindle interface. When I want to capture an illustration or story instead of just highlighting I will select the text and insert a note. In the input box of the note I will type key words that are not found in the selected text but represent the theme or idea.
For example, let’s say a story is a great portrayal of overcoming adversity. I decide I want to tuck that story away for future use. I would then select the appropriate Kindle text, select to insert a note and then key into the note input field the words “1si overcoming adversity” (where the 1si is just my short code for story/illustration). The justification of this extra work is found below when we talk about searching our highlights.
Moving Kindle Highlights to Evernote
- Navigate online to https://kindle.amazon.com/ and sign in to your Kindle account
- From the upper menu choices on this page click on <Your Books>. This will take you to all your Kindle books, scroll through, and click on the link of the desired book.
- The resulting webpage is associated with the chosen Kindle book. In the upper right you will see a clickable link indicating how many highlighted passages and notes you have made for this book, click on that link.
- This webpage shows your highlights and notes only for the chosen book. Clip this page using the Evernote web clipper choosing the “Simplified article” option when prompted.
- Before saving I cursor down in the web clipping input box to <Add tag> and type “=“ then the author’s name and a short title of the book. I do this because I want all the books I annotate to be grouped together by author and title. The leading “=“ is my way of getting all my books together via the tagging system of Evernote.
- If you are not tagging your web clipping, then cursor up to the top of the input box and change the title of the Evernote note to something more meaningful than“Amazon Kindle: Your Highlights”.
- When you are finished with the web clipping input box, click on <Save>.
Searching Kindle highlights from within Evernote
The above was tedious, but the result is that all your highlights and notes from that book are now an Evernote note that is fully searchable. If you are thinking that they were searchable online at Kindle you are correct. But I want all my annotations both from Kindle books and printed books to be searchable from one interface. After a while I can’t recall from which book I tucked away some good material. If all my annotations are in Evernote then I don’t have to. There is the real value.
Finally, let me return to why I do the extra work of inserting key words preceded by “1si” in a Kindle note when there is a particular illustration I want to be able to retrieve. Text inputed into a Kindle note are included along with the Kindle excerpt in my Kindle highlights of the book. That means they become part of the Evernote note when I web clip the Kindle highlights of the book.
Using my example from earlier in this post if I am trying to find material relating to adversity or recall that I read a good illustration about overcoming adversity I can perform a search in Evernote using those key terms. One of the search results will be the Evernote note containing my Kindle highlights with the search term highlighted. This highlighted search term will be sitting right under the excerpt from the book. Bingo I have found the illustration! If my Evernote search results are too numerous I add my short code “1si” as one of the search terms. That will narrow the search results.by