{Discussion} Do You Tab and/or Annotate Your Books?


How do you feel about tabbing and/or marking your physical books? I know for some people this may be fairly controversial. It could even be considered sacrilegious to mark a book in any way! However, I recently have been reading a lot of blog posts that are in favor of annotating in at least some way while you read. What do you think?

I saw a video recently where a Booktuber explained her tabbing system. She also freely talks about writing in the margins of her favorite books.

Now I am aware of at least one other blogger who uses tabs when reading (but I cannot recall who it is), and several others who take notes in various different ways (via notebook or phone, etc.). Personally though? I have tried a little bit of everything.

I found that if I wrote things down as I read I

  • got more out of the story (or at least more talking points for the review)


  • it took me longer to finish the book
  • and sometimes would alter my experience, taking away from the immersive nature of stories.

I also used to write in the margins of my text books,

  • but truthfully, it hurts my heart to even think about marking one of my novels.

I JUST started using tabs though, so I don’t know how I feel about it yet.

  • I like the idea of having easy access to talking points for my reviews


  • I am not sure how I feel about having tabs sticking out of all my books.
  • I also think that I would prefer to have a system in place (can you say, color coordination?) but haven’t nailed one down yet.

Do you use tabs in your books? If you do, where do you get your tabs? What is your system? Do you have it color coordinated or just use whatever color you are feeling today?

Do you use a different type of notation/annotation system when it comes to reading? I want to hear all about it!

Let’s discuss!

25 thoughts on “{Discussion} Do You Tab and/or Annotate Your Books?

  1. I always mean to use tabs in my books, but I either get so immersed in the story I completely forget or the opposite happens and I don’t think it’s worth the effort to put tabs in. I don’t write in my books, but I do put little quotation marks (with a pencil – I’m not a monster) by passages I really love 😊 I buy a lot of secondhand books and I love getting ones that have been written in, it’s like getting a peak into the book’s previous life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get what you mean as far as the tabs. That’s my thought too! I guess we’ll see what ends up working for me 🙂 and I agree about getting second hand books! But when something is new I get all anxious about writing in it. Isn’t that weird?


    1. SAME! That’s seriously what I have been (not) doing for the last few months but I am seriously struggling lately. Between reading slumps and putting off book reviews, I feel like I am not remembering a whole lot of anything! So I thought I would give this tabbing thing a try…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also… I “read” a lot of audiobooks. Couldn’t really tab those if I wanted to. eBooks are a different story. If anything, it’s way easier to tab an ebook, and I STILL DON’T DO IT! But honestly, I feel like I’m pretty good at remembering everything that happened in the book, as long as I write the review within a week of finishing. After a week…. oh, boy. Who knows?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I agree with you about it being easier to tab an ebook but unfortunately I have tried and just can’t get into them! Same with audio books… Here’s to hoping this will maybe help? I am already feeling like it’s failing because I am reading library books so I can’t exactly tab those either..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was a lit student so writing in the books was pretty much a necessity. But… I couldn’t do it with my regular books. Still can’t. The last few times I wanted to make notes in a physical books I just popped in some sticky notes so I wouldn’t have to write in the book itself. I love using the notes sections in my ebooks though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Generally, I use tabs to mark something I want to mention in a review, but I don’t even always use them. Most times I forget. And if I do use them, I pull them out after. Unless I buy a copy of a book I love specifically to annotate. Then I’ll keep the tabs, or washi, in and write in it. Most times I just make a note in my phone for a review, if I even remember to do that lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to love the book and feel like I have something to say. I did ready player one with a friend and taped all sorts of pictures in and stuff. It was a lot of fun. On the other hand, I love the Hobbit but after didn’t think I really added any comments worth looking back on or highlighted any really good quotes. We’ll see what I think in a few years when I read that copy again lol. But sometimes I like a book and just don’t think there’s anything I need to mark or comment on. So I don’t have too many to annotate

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never tried tabs but I did try writing in the margins once, but I stopped after like 2 chapters because it was ruining my reading experience. I have also tried taking notes but more often than not I got too distracted by reading to write anything down. So now what I do is whenever there is a part where something sticks out to me, I take a picture of the page, but half the time I forget to look at my pictures when writing my review 😂😂 so in other words I am awful at any form of note taking and mostly write my reviews off the top of my head!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No that makes sense. I just feel very removed from the story when I take notes during it, you know? That’s why I though the tabs would be good because they are fast and I don’t have to really think about it I just tab and keep going. But we’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah I’m totally down with tabbing and annotating books. Although I tend to go for annotating and not tabbing, just cos I’m not that organised 😉 I’ve tried with highlighters to colour code, but it never works out quite right 😉 And I also wouldn’t want tabs sticking out of my book. Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m worried that color coding my tabs will end up failing miserably… but I also have like 6 colors to choose from, and if they don’t have a purpose, how to I choose? IDK this is all very new-ish to me and I don’t know what to do about it.


  6. I don’t have a problem with writing in books or tabbing them; I just don’t generally find it useful. Even in school, I found it more useful to take notes in a notebook so they’d all be together and I could find them quickly. It seems easier to do that than flip through the book looking for your notes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes sense. I don’t know, for me at least, when I write in a notebook I feel like it really takes me out of the story. Which is why I wanted to try tabs; just to have something to compare it to.


  7. This is such an interesting question! I don’t write or annotate or tab my books at all – I’m not really too fond of stopping my reading to write down some notes or something, but there are times where I end up doing it anyway. I just feel like it stops my reading immersion a little bit, somehow and I also like to keep my books pristine, I’m that kind of person hahaha. I do love seeing tabbed books and annotated books somehow, though, they’re fun to go through, but I don’t really do that to my own books haha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No it totally makes sense! And truthfully that is my arguement for note taking while reading. I just found that I was super removed from the story every time I stopped to write something down. But I am hopeful for the tabs. I feel like that is fast enough that it won’t take me out of the story, but we shall see!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m in the “marking books is sacrilege” camp. However, as long as it is a temporary marking and not dog-earing or marking with a writing utensil is just a big no-no in my home.


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