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New Sony Readers lets you export your notes, highlights, and annotations

So my Sony Reader review units finally arrived (I must have been really far down the list). I just got them yesterday, so I’m still in the early stages of playing with them to see what they can do. But I found a feature that I really want you to see: Sony lets you export annotations from the PRS-650 and PRS-350.

You might recall that I reviewed the Edge back in April. One feature that made me really happy was that it could export your annotations as a PDF. It was the only ereader with that ability at the time. I do wonder if Sony added this export in response to my post. I don’t know if they did, but I do know that I can’t find it in the PRS-600 user manual, and that ereader had largely the same feature set as the 650.

Update: a commenter pointed out that I was wrong; the PRS-600 could export notes. I’ll take his word for it; I just went through the manual again and I can’t see where this feature is mentioned. #SonyFAIL

You’ll need the Sony Reader Library software to extract the notes, and you’ll get a RTF file.The RTF file will have highlighted excerpts, typed notes, and whatever you scribbled on the screen.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work all that well. It’s difficult to get the screen shots out; I’d much rather have a PDF. But I think part of my problem with the screen shot is that it appears to be acting like it is an SVG, and I don’t know how to handle it. Also, Mike Cane noted some time back that DRM breaks the export feature. If you highlight part of a DRM protected ebook; it won’t get exported. And Sony hid the export button quite well (they can’t design a user interface to save their lives).

All in all, this is a good start and it’s better than anything the Nook, Kobo, or Pocketbook can do. If you were wondering why Sony charged more, this is a pretty good reason.

Second Update: Now that we know that Sony added this feature last year, it changes my perception. It really should work better by now.

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zeepie November 10, 2010 um 9:26 am

Nice ! That’s a feature I’ve really been waiting for. Now for the million dollar question(s) : are the typed / highlighted notes exported as editable text, or are they svg as well ? And, is there any way to find the notes files in some exploitable form somewhere in the database via the file navigator, or are you obligated to use the Sony software to generate the rtf ?

Nate the great November 10, 2010 um 9:38 am

Yes, the typed notes are stored as text (highlights, too) in the RTF.

I went looking for the annotations, and assuming someone knows how to extract them from the "annot" file, it is possible to get at them without the Sony Reader Library.

The scribbled notes are separate, actually, and they are indeed SVG files.

thiago November 10, 2010 um 10:59 am

I was looking for some information about this product hardware, do you got some?

It does look a lot like the 4fff n618, as does the FNAC reader. Since 4fff produces it as OEM and ODM, there are some readers that might be the same n618 in a slightly different cover, and with slightly different specs.

Luqman November 10, 2010 um 12:10 pm

Uhhh…. The Sonys could do this starting with the 600 series. It is not a new feature with the *50 models. I could even export notes from the 700 once Sony released the new edition of their Reader software.

Nate the great November 10, 2010 um 12:37 pm


I fixed the post.

Aruangra November 17, 2010 um 10:02 pm

Can it export notes and highlights on a PDF file in the manner similar to your photo above?

Nate the great November 17, 2010 um 10:17 pm

No, just the RTF file.

Scott December 2, 2010 um 2:44 pm

I have a PRS-950 on a mac and when I export the RTF and open it in word (2008) the text of the exported screens is all garbled (upside down and backwards?) is this a result of word munging up the RTF or is this the way it exports for everyone?


Nate the great December 2, 2010 um 3:16 pm

I’d bet that it’s caused by the Sony Library (on your Mac), actually. That’s what made the RTF file. Do you have a Windows machine you can install the Sony Library on to double check?

Daily Deal: Sony Reader PRS-350 now $85 – The Digital Reader October 14, 2011 um 9:00 pm

[…] the notes off the 350 is another matter. Last I checked there were problems (here and here). but I believe the software has been updated since then so I will probably need to take […]

Pete January 30, 2012 um 1:33 pm

After owning this product did you ever figure out a way to export a PDF (or RTF of the PDF) with your notes, scribbles and highlights spatially attached to the original publication? I am not interested in ebooks but am very interested in PDFs and that might be good because they do not have the DRM restrictions of ebooks.

Nate Hoffelder January 30, 2012 um 1:47 pm

The latest version might support exporting PDFs. I will go try it and see.

Nate Hoffelder February 2, 2012 um 7:34 am

No, the app cannot export the notes with the ebook. What’s even more frustrating was that I tested it on a public domain ebook, where it would have been legal.

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