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Book Annotation Trends for 2023

Annotation 2023
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends in the bookish world, chances are you’ve come across a few videos that talk about book annotating and annotations. You might be someone who has been annotating for a long time, or you may be a beginner. You might read ebooks on Fable or a print copy from your favorite bookstore. No matter how you read, here are some new trends in book annotation worth trying in 2023.

Get inspired by these new annotation trends!

Annotating is an ever-growing practice, even if the main idea always remains the same. There is no right or wrong way to annotate, you just do whatever feels right to you. This is one of the many reasons why I love annotating so much; there will never be another book annotated identically to your own, it’s one of a kind. If you're feeling nervous or don't know where to start, here's a video I made about my personal annotation style.

1. Match your annotation supplies and book cover.

Matching your annotating supplies to the book cover is far from being new, but it has become a rather popular trend amongst readers on social media. If you go on TikTok or Instagram and look up #annotating, you’ll find multiple posts where readers have made their tabs and writing supplies match the cover of their book. I personally started matching my supplies to the cover about a year ago. Why do I do it? Honestly, it’s just really pretty and satisfying. There aren't necessarily any benefits to making your supplies match to the cover other than the aesthetics of it, but at least you’ll be able to take really nice pictures once you’ve finished your book. On Fable, you can do the same thing with our quote share feature. Simply highlight a passage and tap "Share." You can choose from various colors to match your quote and book cover in a perfectly sharable image.highlight

2. Glitter pens are making a comeback.

Who else remembers the time when glitter pens were THE thing to have in your pencil case? I certainly do. They were always rather popular for journaling, but glitter pens have become increasingly popular as an annotation tool for many readers/annotators. For those who know me from social media, you’ll know that I love glitter pens to doodle and circle certain words when I annotate. When I say doodle, I really mean just simple doodles - little hearts, stars, random dots here and there, etc. While doodling in your book might not necessarily have a purpose other than decorating your book, I personally find that it enhances my reading experience. Much like how I find that doodling helps me focus, taking some time to doodle after finishing a paragraph or a page allows me to absorb everything that just happened a little better. As for circling words, I usually use my glitter pens to emphasize them. See how I wrote “emphasize” in bold right there? That’s what I usually use glitter pens for. Since I can’t exactly click a button and have the text embolden, I like to use glitter pens to bring more focus to certain words, or even sentences.

3. Don’t want to write in your book? Try transfer paper, post-its, or quick reactions

If the thought of annotating in ink or doing anything to your book makes you nervous, there are alternatives. Many of you might already be familiar with clear post-its. These are wonderful for beginners who want to write their thoughts, just not directly on the page. They’re also incredibly useful if you have a lot to write but not enough space in the margins. The only downside to using clear Post-It notes is that they don’t cover the entire page, but there’s another alternative for this - transfer paper. A friend of mine on TikTok - @booktok.journal - posted about this a few months ago, and I thought it was such an amazing idea. She used transfer paper, cut it to fit the size of the book’s pages, and wrote over the transfer paper rather than the book’s pages - kind of like a book page-sized clear post-it. While this can be a bit time-consuming, it’s a great way to annotate without altering the book.In the Fable reader, you don't have to fill every ebook page with highlights, notes, and links. You can just use quick reactions to keep your emotional journey visible but not intrusive!Quick Reactions

4. Get creative and decorate the title page.

There have been so many amazing creators who shared their decorated title page on social media. Some are simple, adding lines and tiny doodles, whereas others are intricate, making detailed drawings related to the story. But they don’t just doodle or draw, some use scrapbooking supplies to decorate the title page (and some even use these supplies throughout the book!). This really makes us realize how annotating has grown into something more similar to scrapbooking or journaling. I often like to say to “treat the margins like your journal/diary when you’re reading.” This helps set a certain mindset, which is that you can write any of your thoughts, whether they be simple or complex, in the margins. All of this to say that there are no limitations when it comes to annotating. Since it’s such a personal and unique practice, you can do whatever you feel like doing and it will always be correct.

5. Annotate with a friend!

Swapping annotated books with a friend is not only a super unique and creative gift, but it’s also a really fun activity to do together. I’ve done this with a few of my friends in the past and it makes the overall reading experience so much more enjoyable. Find a book buddy on Fable, and then find the shared reading experience you both enjoy. You can start with a free sample of the ebook on Fable, then decide what format works best for you. There are various ways that you can swap annotated books. You can create a private club for you and your friend on Fable, choose the book you both wish to read, and then you can annotate it (digitally) together. With print books, you can both annotate a copy and then swap. You can reply to each other’s annotations and then swap again! Another option could be that you annotate a different book for each other. For example, I annotated a copy of "Kingdom of the Wicked" for one of my friends as a Christmas present. She annotated a copy of "Icebreaker" for me!Receiving an annotated book is not only great because you’re getting a new book, but you’re getting your friend’s thoughts and all the care they put into annotating it as well. When I’ll read my copy of "Icebreaker" annotated by my friend, I’ll get to see through her annotations how she experienced the book, and I’ll be able to add my own annotations to compare later on.

What is good annotation?

If you visit the #AnnotateWithMe hashtag on TikTok, you'll find thousands of vidoes illustrating how people annotate their books in different formats. Whether you are reading the book with thousands of friends or a single person, Fable makes it easy to annotate any text with notes, highlights, photographs, music, videos, or other special links. Once you download the Fable app, follow these simple steps to annotate a book for a friend or loved one…
  • Create a Fable book club and add your favorite book.
  • Highlight your favorite sections
  • Press the “Add Comment” button to share your thoughts about the passage
  • Make it personal by posting with photographs and links to songs, videos, and other content
  • Invite your friend or loved one to join your club
Fable editor Hayley Dennings made a video about her personal annotation style.

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