Marking Up Your Books: Do, or Do Not?

Posted November 16, 2018 by Amber in Memes / 21 Comments


I have exactly two books with any sort of self-annotation in them.

One is the copy of Inferno I got for college, which I never figured I’d end up keeping. I kept it because it has a better translation than the gorgeous Barnes and Noble leather-bound edition I own.

The other book is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is littered with blue post-it flags.  These aren’t marking anything important, per se. They’re the location of quotes I was using to argue with a friend that Draco/Hermione was more likely than Draco/Harry.  Which is extra ridiculous, by the way, because I liked Draco/Harry just fine and never shipped Draco/Hermione.  I think I just wanted to talk Harry Potter in intense detail with someone.

I actually love the idea of annotating a book myself, but I’ve never really done it.  For one, I don’t even dog ear my books.  The idea of writing in them makes me cringe.  For another, I get wrapped up in reading and forget.

For a little while, I was subscribed to PageHabit.  While they’re out of business now, one of the things I really loved about this book box was that the books were annotated.  Each book is littered with Post-Its.  While the books themselves have not been my favorite, I adore the annotations.  Both The Midnight Front (meh) and Sky in the Deep (loved it!) have been annotated by the author, and it really adds a level to the reading experience.

Even though I don’t write in the books, I try to snag quotes from them that make me laugh, are wise and deep, or are beautifully written.  I keep a notebook near where I usually sit and read, but I also take notes in my phone.  It’s all very scattered.  That, and I use Goodreads updates to keep track of my thoughts.

Strangely, I have no issues with people writing in their books?  I personally find it distracting, but I also thing it’s the easiest way to make notes of things.  I also think that post-it flags are a great way of marking interesting quotes if you don’t want to write them down elsewhere.

I’ve also heard about traveling books, where one person reads and annotates them, then mails the copy to the next person, and so forth.  I love this idea and would LOVE to be a part of something like this.  It’s like reading a book alongside friends, even if you’re an ocean apart.

What are your opinions on marking up your books?


This week’s Book Blogger Hop asks:

Do you take notes about the book you are reading as you read?


Short answer:  I don’t… but sometimes I wish I did.  I like the idea of re-reading along with myself, but I just don’t have the heart to mark up the books, and post-it flags don’t really trigger my memory.


Have you ever read an annotated book?

Have you written in your own books?

Do you save favorite book quotes?

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21 responses to “Marking Up Your Books: Do, or Do Not?

  1. Hello, I’m over from Crossroad Reviews. I don’t really take notes either. I would never write in my books and I didn’t even think of that when I saw this question this week. I am however going to start keeping track of quotes that I enjoy since I’m going to be posting those to Instagram. Here is my post!

    Blogger Hop Post

  2. I’ve never written in a book of my own (aside from my name in the front cover), but I do love finding notes in used books. It’s a little peek into someone else’s brain. *^-^*

    • Amber

      I even flinch at the “name inside the front cover” thing. I really want to mark my books as “Belongs to the Library of…” but I just never seem to get up the nerve. XD I agree though, I like doing other peoples’ thoughts? Maybe not all OVER the book, but I do like it!

    • Amber

      You keep notes all over the place! 🙂 That’s smart, though, you can mark it with a little flag and take note in your phone app what you were thinking there.

  3. I only mark up books that I read in class. It was easier to keep all of my notes contained therein, and I knew that for the most part I would never read them again (although I may go back and re-read the Vonnegut books from last semester). I would never be able to write in my personal books, and I think that’s saying a lot. I like to keep things nice and neat, and I don’t dog-ear pages or crack spines or anything like that. I’m a little OCD about my books, and whenever a paperback cover gets a little damaged I get upset with myself. (My sister used to be bad about borrowing my books and just throwing them into her backpack… I cried a lot when I was younger about that.)

    • Amber

      Haha, I am the same if someone *else* borrows a book, but as far as I’m concerned, I beat up my books a decent amount. Less now because of book sleeves, though! My purse used to be a torture chamber for books – now they’re quite safe. Although I’m still not certain how people comfortably read without cracking spines, especially mass market paperbacks. :/

    • Amber

      Well if someone else has written in it, it’s already been done and there’s nothing you can do about it! 🙂 I think that makes plenty of sense. And it’s like reading the book alongside someone else.

    • Amber

      Taking notes for discussions makes a lot of sense. Do you find it interrupts the story for you if you stop and take notes?

  4. I’ve only written in one book and that’s my copy of Emma that I initially bought for English Language. I love annotating my books with index flags though. Most of my own books have index flags in so that I know where my favourite quotes are if I ever want to reread parts of the book. 🙂

    • Amber

      That’s a good guide to go by. I think a lot of people have scribbled in books bought for college purposes – makes it easier in group discussions.

  5. Once, I though got it was a good idea to write in my Game of Thrones book. But I got like, 3 chapters in, and felt horribly about it. I don’t know. Yeah, I can’t even dog-ear a page, either. I either make notes via Kindle app (if I’m reading an ebook), or on my phone. Goodreads is handy, too, for saving quotes I love.

    Travelling books, though, sounds awesome! I’d totally be down to do a travelling book with someone! 😀

    • Amber

      I make notes in the Kindle app too, for eARCs and things like that. Goodreads is fantastic for notes and quotes!

      Traveling books sounds like so much fun, right? I always keep my eyes peeled for one – there were a few when I started blogging, but I haven’t seen any since. 🙁