Sometimes I need to take the notes I make in a Kindle ebook and use them elsewhere. Amazon doesn't make it easy for us to do that, but luckily there are other ways.
Earlier this week I needed to export my Kindle notes, so I did some digging and rounded up a few tools which would help me do just that. The tools range from the simple (copy+paste from a web browser) to the inaccessible (an iPhone app and a Mac-only script).
Edit: Actually, let's start with the one option so simple and obvious that I completely overlooked it.
Look in the documents folder of your E-ink Kindle and you'll see a file named myclippings.txt. This is a text file of all of the notes and highlights made on your Kindle (but not on the other Kindles or Kindle apps on your account). You can copy this folder to your PC and open it.
Boom. You can now copy and past your notes into other documents, emails, etc.
Let's start with the simplest. Did you know that Amazon has a special section on its website where you can view your ebook library (and more importantly, look at the notes and highlights you've made on the Kindle)?
The above link takes you to that section, and after you log in you'll see your reading habits as well as the reading history of other Kindle owners.
If you look along the top of the page, you'll see that one of the menu options is labeled "Your Highlights". Click it.
This page will show you each ebook to which you've added a note or highlight. (It won't show bookmarks, darnit.) Click on one of the titles on the page to see the notes and highlights for a specific book.
You'll see a page like the following. Find and click the "Your Notes and Highlights" button to bring up the annotations you made:
Once you open that page you can copy and paste a highlight or note. it works just like with any other webpage, and it is a quick and easy way to grab a single note.
But if you want to get more than one note at a time, here are a few tools you can try.
Let's start with my favorite.
This nifty little bookmarklet is simple and works great with Chrome. After you install it, you use it be opening one an ebook's highlights page on Kindle.amazon.com and then clicking the bookmarklet button.
I like Bookcision because it works well with Chrome. With other web browsers, you can save the notes to the clipboard, but with Chrome I also get multiple download options (text, XML, JSON). The latter two options include a link to the note's location in the ebook.
But it's not for everyone, so here are a couple other options.
The Kindle apps for iOS and Android have a feature which is not shared by the Fire tablets.
In the notebook menu, you will find an option to share your annotations by email.Here's what it looks like on the iPad:
The notebook menu can be accessed from inside a book, but the way you find it differs between Android and iOS.
On iOS, click the “sheet of paper” icon in the upper right corner. The export button is in the upper right corner of the notebook menu. The exported notes don't look very good, but this trick does let you pull the notes out of even a side-loaded ebook.
On Android, click the "3 dots" icon in the upper right corner, and then select the Notebook option from the dropdown menu. You can either create flashcards or export the notes to Drive, by email, or by Android Beam.
This is an Apple Script based tool which basically does the same thing as Bookcision. It copies the notes from a book's highlights page on Kindle.amazon.com and creates local file on your Mac.
There are a couple versions of the Notescraper tool, including one which works with Evernote. But since I don't have a Mac, I can't comment on how well it works.
Speaking of Evernote, its webclipping can be used to import your notes and highlights.
This tool can be used to copy part of a page or an entire webpage into your Evernote account, and I'm told it works well to copy notes from a book's highlights page on Kindle.amazon.com.
But you might want to manually select the book notes though and copy and paste. There's one report that the page has an infinite scroll built-in that messes up one user's Evernote clipper.
And while we're on the topic, Microsoft's OneNote has a similar clipping tool. It takes screenshots so it's not nearly as useful, but if you already use that platform then it's worth a look.
If you're an iPhone user, you might want to check out this app. According to the website, it is supposed to let you "read and share all of your notes and highlights in one place".
Unfortunately, I am unable to install the Snippefy app and confirm that it works. It won't show up when I searched for it in the iTunes app store on my iPad. But since the iTunes listing appears to be active, I am including this app just in case you find it useful.
Clippings.io is supposed to offer an easy to use online service for managing your Kindle notes and highlights, but I haven't found a good reason to continue using it.
While I was setting it up, I noticed that this "free" service works with a Chrome plugin which costs $2 (you can also find the myclippings.txt file and upload it). That turned me off, and since it basically duplicates activities I already perform on my PC, I plan to close the tab and forget about it.
And last but not least, calibre. This ebook library tool can not only send ebooks to your Kindle, it can also fetch the annotations from a Kindle - only there's a catch.
This only works when you have your Kindle plugged into your PC over USB. And it apparently doesn't work for newer Kindles.
I found this trick while researching this post, and I also found a bug report which says that this feature doesn't work with newer Kindles. I can't get it to work with my Paperwhites, for example.
But since it might work for you, I'm including it here. Head on over to JetShred for instructions and more details.
All in all, there are a lot of tools out there that either don't work, aren't terribly useful, or are intended to work in only specific circumstances.
But I found at least one tool that I like, so I'm good.
Did you find one you could use? Did I miss one?
The comments are open.
image by Terry Madeley