Book Fetish

The Best Annotation Tools for Readers

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

I know many of us are taught from a young age that we aren’t supposed to write in or mark up books, and while I do agree that should be the case with library books (as a librarian, please don’t do it!) or books you borrow from other people, I am a firm believer in marking up books you own — and not just for books you’re studying for school!

While I first learned about the joy of marking up my books when I was an English major, I think annotating books can be beneficial beyond educational or studying purposes! It can be a good way to experience what you read and a way to actively participate in the reading process by expressing yourself creatively.

While it’s true that all you need to get started is a book and a writing utensil, no fancy tools necessary, there are so many great tools to transform your books into colorful spreads of personal notes. And the tools out there aren’t just fluorescent highlighters and plastic tabs from your school days — there are so many kits and beautiful supplies, as well as smart tools like transparent sticky notes and stickers that simulate highlighters without having to actually highlight in a straight line. If you love to mark up your reading, or want to get started, then check out these beautiful tools!

Annotation Starter Kit ($13): These cute little starter kits with matching flags, pens, and bonus stickers are a great way to start out on your annotation journey.

An array of bookish flags in various colors with matching pens and bookish stickers

Genre Book Tabs ($8+): Choose the set that best matches your favorite genres, with options like magic systems, spice levels, and plot twists.

Four different bookmarks with various colored flags that are labelled with book appeal terms

For My Bookish Shit Annotation Skit ($24): If you want a sweet annotation kit that slides right into a zippered case to bring with you wherever you go, this is the one!

A canvas zipper pouch with flags, annotation strops, and pens.

Annotation Bookmark Tabs ($11+): If you aren’t fussy and just want to keep your flags close, then grab these bookmarks with built-in tabs!

Three bookers with ten different colored tabs for various themes and appeals.

Floral Book Annotation Kit ($20): Do you want to take notes in addition to annotating your reading? Then these pretty floral kits are just the thing! They include flags, a coordinating pen and highlighter, a notebook, stickers, and a keychain.

A set of three different floral annotation kits, including pen and highlighter, flags, a notebook, stickers, and a keychain

Color Coordinated Annotation Kit ($9): Need to start small or need to refill your own kits? These coordinating tabs, pen and highlighter, and stickers are cute and affordable!

Various sets of tab kits with coordinating pens and highlighters, with bookish stickers

Annotation Stickers ($12): If you don’t like highlighting your books but still want the colorful effect, these clear stickers make your pages and notes pop!

A set of three clear stickers in lines squares, and hearts

Reading Log and Annotation Kit ($9): If you like to keep track of your overall reading and make notes, this reading log bookmark with annotation supplies is perfect.

reading log bookmark, highlighter, flat, and a magnetic bookmark

Library Card Sticky Notes ($4): Not keen on writing directly on your books? Use these sticky notes to make your notes!

sticky note pads designed to look like library checkout cards

Annotation Kit Mystery Grab Bag ($10): Not picky about perfect color coordination? Then buy this kit, which includes a grab bag of stickers, pens, highlighters, and tabs!

A colorful array of pens, flags, and stickers

Deluxe Book Lovers’ Annotation Kit ($25): Want to go all out? Get this kit, which includes pens and highlights, clear sticky notes, tabs, library notecards, bookmarks, and more!

brown box containing bookmarks, library notecards, flags, pens ad highlighters, and stationery