Don’t Miss the Benefits of eBooks – Accessing Your Notes 2

DO YOU READ EBOOKS? If so, do you use many of the features ebooks offer, such as highlighting phrases and passages you like, creating notes about your impressions, searching for key ideas, and bookmarking? I know I do.

These are useful tools for research — or simply for thoughtful reading. And one area in which ebooks have it over print. With print, you can highlight text and write notes in the margins to your heart’s content, but, unless you transfer everything manually to a notebook or computer, finding those passages when you want them becomes a trial of flipping through pages searching for content. Ebooks, on the other hand, allow you to access all your annotations through the menu in your ebook reader — in one place.

But, what if you want to transfer your ebook notes to a paper or article you are writing? Do you still have to go through a manual transfer-to-notebook process? Happily, the answer is no — at least for Kindle and iBooks. (I’m not sure about Nook. I don’t use it, but in my web search didn’t find any answers. So if you know of a way to export your Nook notes, please tell us about it in the comments section.)

How to Access All Your Kindle Highlights and Notes

Within the Kindle application, you can access and export highlights for the currently open book. It is slightly different for each device (i.e., computer, Kindle, iOS), but the process is essentially the same.

  1. On the Kindle or on a mobile app, tap the top of the screen to show the reading toolbar.
  2. If you’re on a Kindle device, tap Go To, select the Notes tab, then the Yours tab.
  3. If you’re reading on the computer or mobile app, select the Notes icon. (On the computer app, the notes icon is always present in the left sidebar.)
  4. If you’re reading on a mobile app or on your computer, select the Share icon to export. On the computer app, the notes will export to an html file. On a mobile app, you can choose to export to email or flashcards.

The Notes and Share icons on Kindle for Mac (steps 3 and 4)

The Notes icon on Kindle for iOS (Steps 1 and 3)

On iOS (step 4)

Export to annotations to flashcards or email.

Pretty simple, right?

On the Web

Here’s where reading using a Kindle really gets exciting. Did you know that you can access all your notes for all your kindle books in one place on the web?

  1. In your web browser, go to and, if necessary, log in using your Amazon username and password.

As you can see from the following screen capture, all your books and all your notes can be accessed in one place. You can:

  • Search for any book or document in your Kindle library
  • Select the book for which you want to view the notes.
  • Scroll through all the highlights and notes, and then, optionally: copy and paste into a separate document, open in Kindle, add notes, and delete highlights.


How to Access Your iBooks Highlight and Notes

In iBooks you can only access your notes in individual books within the application. (While you can access and copy and paste individual notes on the computer version iBooks, there isn’t a way to export or share multiple notes, so if you want to export notes, use a mobile device.)

To access and export notes from your iOS device:

  1. Tap the Contents icon.

  2. Select the Notes tab.

  3. Tap the Share icon and select Edit Notes.

  4. Select All or select the individual notes you want to export, then tap the Share link at the bottom of the screen. You can then choose the method for exporting your notes.



How a person prefers to read, whether it’s print or ebook — Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobe, or any other reader — is entirely a personal preference. In my mind, however, Kindle has the other readers beat when it comes to availability of apps on all devices, flexibility of use, and features. In particular, the ability to access all my notes on all books in one place on the web has made research and study so much easier that, these days, I vastly prefer ebook to print.

How do you use your ebook highlights and notes? Do you use a reader other than Kindle or iBooks? Please share your thoughts.


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2 thoughts on “Don’t Miss the Benefits of eBooks – Accessing Your Notes

  • Sharon Lippincott

    Thanks for this exciting post Amber. I much prefer eBooks to print for nearly everything. I’m a Windows/Android user, so can fill in a couple of cracks here. Both systems use Kindle just the way you describe. In general though, I prefer ePub books to Kindle. This is just a personal quirk. Kindle is great, but I often buy from Barnes and Noble, borrow in ePub format from my local library, and request ePub versions of review copies. Every few months I review the current offering of Android ePub readers and have stuck with PocketBook reader for a few years now. If you spend time with the settings, you can customize it six ways to Sunday, including line spacing. Everything about PocketBook (and others) is close to what you describe for Kindle. The one disadvantage is that notes do not show up on the web. BUT, it’s easy to export them to a file.

    If you only buy ebooks from Amazon, the Kindle app definitely rocks, and the sync function is super. Some ePub readers claim to sync via DropBox, but I have yet to make this work. BTW, last time I looked, only official Kindle books acquired from Amazon sync via the Kindle app, not .mobi files you acquire elsewhere. Forget the Nook app exists. I’ve given up on it. The current best choice for ePubs on Windows is the Freda app, which is much like PocketBook.

    One of the eBook benefits you didn’t mention is the ease of copying content to paste quotes into reviews or other documents. Whatever app you’re using, highlight the section you want to use, tap on Copy, then find your other document and paste. Some apps add an extra paragraph of source material you may need to customize or delete. I’m pleased that Kindle removed that feature and leaves it to users to ethically cite sources in our own way.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Sharon, thank you for sharing your experience with Android apps and filling in the gaps in that area. Being a longtime all-things-Apple fan, my knowledge of alternatives is definitely limited (though I do also use Windows), so I appreciate your knowledge sharing. I hadn’t heard of PocketBook, and it definitely sounds like a great app for those who prefer ePub versions of ebooks.