Book Fetish

Take Note With These Book Annotation Kits

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Book annotation is having a moment, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that because more and more of social media is driven visually — from Instagram to TikTok — we’re seeing more readers show off how much they’re engaging with a text. It is kind of neat to think a very online world of book lovers is fueling a very offline way of connecting with the written word. I’ve always been someone who is unafraid to mark up a book, but for a long time, that was not something people wanted to hear because of the idea books are sacred objects. They…are not. There are valuable books, but chances are the book you’ve picked up at the store is not that. There is joy in writing in your books and connecting with the text in a very physical way.

Because of the burgeoning trend of showcasing book annotation, it should come as little surprise there is also a place for readers to purchase tools to do their own annotation. Sure, you could hit up the local big box store for some sticky notes, pens, and highlighters, but there’s something a little more special grabbing a kit that’s pre-assembled by a fellow word nerd. Not to mention, they’re often a little more aesthetically pleasing if you don’t have access to a specialty stationary store (I know I don’t!).

If book annotation is new to you, never fear. You can learn five ways to effectively annotate your books, how annotation helps your memory (I know this is why I take notes while reading!), ideas for how to annotate your books, and finally, how to enjoy annotating your books.

Let’s take a look at some rad book annotation kits you can snag off Etsy.

Image of a blue annotation kit, including sticky tabs, a highlighter, and a pen.

First up, choose a favorite color and have an annotation kit which focuses exclusively on it. The above is a nice blue set with highlighter, pen, and sticky tabs galore. $20.

Image of an annotation kit with several pens, highlighters, a small tote bag, and washi tape.

The aesthetics of this book annotation kit are great. You can choose your pouch to keep all of your goods inside, and you’ll get sticky tabs, highlighters, pens, washi tape, and more. $22.

Image of an annotation kit including sticky tabes, a pen, pencil, highlighter, and tab key.

Keep it simple with an annotation kit that has the essentials — plus a handy key to help you with how to annotate a book. You can choose your highlighter color, too. $8.

Book annotation kit featuring highlighters, a bookmark, stickers, and an annotation key.

This is a super cute kit that comes with highlighters, sticky tabs, a bookmark, and a key to annotation. You can add a fun notepad for a little extra as well. Starts at $22.

Image of a book annotation kit which includes a notebook, pen, highlighter, sticky tabs, notepad, washi tape, and paper clips. It is in a purple colorway.

Not only do you get everything pictured above (minus the book), but it’ll come in a really cute pouch to keep all of your annotating goods together. $19.

Image of a pastel pink annotation kit, including pens, a highlighter, sticky notes, and a pink pouch.

There are several color options in this annotation kit which includes pens (those Staedtlers are some of my favorites), a highlighter, pencil, sticky tabs, and a pouch. Grab yours for $13.

Image of an annotation kit which includes sticky tabs, a highlighter, bookmark, and a pouch.

Keep it classic with this annotation kit that comes with a handy pouch. I’m a fan of the annotation of the annotation kit, ngl. $10.

I would be remiss not to mention a couple of other things here. First, if you want to buy a pre-annotated book by a reader, you can. Some of the above-linked shops have ’em. Second, if you’re in the market for just some great book tabs and how to use them, we’ve got you covered on that. It was hard not to link up to a billion cute book tabs here.