Over the years I have developed a personal vocabulary of book annotation: I underline, I star, I write marginal comments, I use arrowing lines to link words that I have circled, I employ a range of punctuation marks that (for me) have distinctly different meanings. When I am reading on my Kindle — and the third generation Kindle is a major upgrade, by the way — I can really only use underlining and commenting, and only the underlining is visible as I read: to see anything else I have to click on a link and go to a different screen, which makes starring and question-marking and the like pretty useless.

So how will this situation change? Will e-reading software provide more sophisticated means of annotation — as PDF readers have, for instance — or will readers simply adapt their annotative habits to the limitations of the new technology?

Text Patterns

September 7, 2010