A Writer’s Good Friend: Kindle Notes & Highlights

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by Robin Lee Hatcher

Recently, a number of writer friends have switched from the use of Kindles to the Nook or stated they are thinking of doing so. They’ve had different reasons for buying a new Nook. Always wanting to stay informed, I decided to do a little research about features and pros and cons to the different devices. No ereader is going to be perfect, but I know various things that are important to me.

It didn’t take me long to know why I won’t be making a switch from my Kindle to a Nook. At least not in the immediate feature: Notes and Highlights.

I learned that (a) the Nook has no backup of highlights and notes and some users on Nook forums have reported losing theirs during software updates, and more importantly, (b) the Nook has no way of copying the highlights and notes to use elsewhere. The latter is what I consider the best feature of the Kindle, at least for writers.

NOTE: This post is not meant as a diss to the Nook or to Barnes & Noble; it’s meant to help those who own Kindles (or the Kindle app on other devices like the iPad) to utilize the tools they have at hand.

In talking to a friend who was considering the switch from Kindle to Nook, I mentioned the Notes and Highlight feature and discovered she had no idea that she could access all of that information. So I shared with her how to do it and how I used it. She was so excited (like others I’ve shared with since then), I thought maybe it was worth repeating in an ACFW blog post, so here goes:

Anytime I highlight or note something in a Kindle book, it can be found on my Kindle page on the Internet. I go to kindle.amazon.com and sign into my account. Then I select the “Your Highlights” link at the top of the page.

Below are some of my highlights in a research book about the rough riders. When I am finished reading a research book, I can come to “My Highlights” in my web browser, then I can highlight my notes and highlights, go to Scrivener, and paste them into a research page. (They could be pasted into any program a person likes; Scrivener is what I use.)

Here is where I’ve pasted them on a page under Research in Scrivener:

So let’s say I’m looking in Scrivener at the highlight from location 52 (see arrows above). It isn’t giving me quite the info that I want, but I remember what I need is near this spot in my reading. So I click on that link to location 52. My Kindle for Mac app pops open on my MacBook to the Kindle book. Then I can look for the info I want in the book itself. Here is the Kindle app screen shot:

This feature is so valuable to me that I would never switch to another reader unless they provided the same kind.

Thus endeth the lesson.


Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher-whose recognitions include the Christy Award, two RITA Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award-is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat). Her 66th book, Betrayal (Book 2 in the Where the Heart Lives series), will release in November 2012.

Comments 0

  1. Wow. I’ve had my Kindle Touch since last Thanksgiving. and only now do I hear about this website and this way to access notes and highlights. Unbelievable. Thank you for opening my eyes. I’m not sure why the original “how to” doc on my Kindle said nothing about this. I use my Kindle for book editing, too, so you just made my life so much easier. THANK YOU!

  2. Oh wow I had no idea you can access your highlights and notes online like that. Thank you so much! Now I don’t have a Mac so I am assuming copy n paste option in Word will do.

  3. I love my Nook very much. And my fountain pens. I’ve always preferred to write research notes instead of type them, so I haven’t taken the time to figure out the highlight feature on my Nook.

    Most of my research reading I do on it is free books from Google, which are kept in a separate folder from the B&N content. So uploading notes and highlights to my Nook online wouldn’t work anyway. And I prefer it that way. Cloud stuff bothers me, from a security/safety standpoint.

    I’m still old-fashioned enough I prefer to have the bulk of my research books in paper.

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