Zettelkasten Forum


ebooks and kindle notes

Hello, I keep all my notes in a version controlled fork of foam: https://foambubble.github.io/foam/

I have a lot of ebooks on my computer in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats. I read most of these on a kindle and I sync books to my kindle using calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/). I highlight a lot of things and take a lot of notes while reading on the kindle.

Does anyone have a workflow for syncing highlights and notes taken on the kindle to markdown files?

Thank you

Comments

  • Klib syncs pretty good from ibooks and your Kindle device (which have all your annotations on a file.)

    https://en.toolinbox.net/Klib/

  • @reidjs said:
    I have a lot of ebooks on my computer in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats. I read most of these on a kindle and I sync books to my kindle using calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/). I highlight a lot of things and take a lot of notes while reading on the kindle.

    Does anyone have a workflow for syncing highlights and notes taken on the kindle to markdown files?

    Thank you

    First, I don't have a suggestion for moving highlights and notes taken on the kindle to markdown files - sorry :smile: . I am surprised that you can highlight and take notes efficiently in the kindle app - I find it so cumbersome. Working right in a pdf file is much simpler (to me), and the highlights and comments can be exported to markdown files simply and directly using a program such as PDF Expert (thanks to @Will for that tip).

    I was interested in your comment about calibre. I have that program, and have used it to access e-books I get from random, non-Amazon sources. I didn't know that you can sync to kindle using the program though. Can you comment on that?

  • Does anyone have a workflow for syncing highlights and notes taken on the kindle to markdown files?

    I use Readwise.io ($$$) to sync my Kindle highlights and notes to Evernote. I think there is now an Obsidian community plugin that will connect to Readwise and pull them into Obsidian (which uses Markdown) but I haven't tried it. There's another service called Clippings.io that might work as well. These generally work with the myclippings.txt file on your Kindle (which you could also open in any text editor, I am pretty sure).

    I have seen a Calibre plugin for extracting highlights and notes. It didn't work for me, but I didn't bother to put too much effort into it, either.

  • I use Kindle's default built-in export notes function. It exports notes and highlights via email.
    I'll them cut and past the notes as appropriate.

    I ought to think about doing some automation. Amazon provides a .csv output of the highlights and notes. Maybe a tool that takes each highlight and creates a rough note for each. This might speed up the onboarding process some. This would be tricky though.

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @reidjs said:
    Does anyone have a workflow for syncing highlights and notes taken on the kindle to markdown files?

    I am the workflow :smile:.

    I have a Kindle e-book reader where I highlight anything of interest while reading. After I've read the book, I go through the book again and manually create notes for any highlights that still stand out. As my Zettelkasten is in Dutch, I usually have to translate from English as I create notes.

    This adds two steps in working with the highlights, which helps me with understanding the book and its underlying ideas.

    I don't use any exporting of highlights, as that will make me lazy in really working with whatever I'm reading (prevent becoming a collector).

  • @r1tger said:
    I am the workflow :smile:.

    :smile: :smile:

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • edited July 2021

    I do this manually. Mount the kindle and navigate this file path:
    kindle -> documents -> My Clippings.txt

    Scroll to pertinent source, copy/paste highlights/notes into a note. Then, get to writing.

    (edited for clarity)

    Post edited by kohled on
  • edited July 2021

    FYI - I don't have my kindle handy, but all your notes are saved in a text file (don't remember the name off hand). If you connect to a pc/mac, you should be able to navigate the file system on your kindle, copy that file, then slice and dice from there...

    Actually the comment above me shows that name and location....

  • edited February 6

    @GeoEng51 said:
    I was interested in your comment about calibre. I have that program, and have used it to access e-books I get from random, non-Amazon sources. I didn't know that you can sync to kindle using the program though. Can you comment on that?

    You can associate an email with your Kindle device in Amazon "device management". You can send an email with HTML, DOC, PDF, or .mobi file attachment to that email. Amazon will add the attachment to your library that can be synchronized with Kindle. You can only send files from the email you specify in configuration. Calibre can be configured to send files to that account connecting to your email provider's SMTP server and convert files into MOBI format before sending. This is a high-level explanation how it works. There may be a way to move files from Calibre to Kindle over USB, but I have not used it.

  • @agru That totally makes sense - thanks for the explanation!

  • edited February 9

    I created a simple web app to export the notes html files to markdown for me and my friends. It works pretty well so maybe it can help you as well @reidjs
    Find it here
    https://www.kindle2markdown.com

  • @rnieves said:
    I created a simple web app to export the notes html files to markdown for me and my friends. It works pretty well so maybe it can help you as well @reidjs
    Find it here
    https://www.kindle2markdown.com

    Very nice - thank you!

  • @agru said:
    You can associate an email with your Kindle device in Amazon "device management". You can send an email with HTML, DOC, PDF, or .mobi file attachment to that email. Amazon will add the attachment to your library that can be synchronized with Kindle. You can only send files from the email you specify in configuration. Calibre can be configured to send files to that account connecting to your email provider's SMTP server and convert files into MOBI format before sending. This is a high-level explanation how it works. There may be a way to move files from Calibre to Kindle over USB, but I have not used it.

    I know this is a bit old - but this works great - thanks!!

  • Hi reidjs,

    I've made a tool to export Kindle notes to markdown in a single clic.

    You can find it here : https://github.com/yanncharlou/GreaseMonkeyKindleNotesExtractor

    It provide a export that's is quite similar to the Calibre one. (including direct link to each annotation in book via kindle app.)

    Unlike other solutions :

    • It's free
    • It doesn't need to access your Amazon account (This is the main reason why I created it.)
    • Since it's simple, if you know javascript, you can easily adapt export to your needs.
  • Welcome to the forums, @YannCharlou. A great first post! Thank you. I did a fresh install of Firefox to test, and I'm excited about this little script. It works wonderfully. The installation was easy peasy.

    Having an easy way to extract highlights and notes is critical to my workflow, which is why I read on some apps and not others. This is a stunning addition to my reading/zettelkasting tool belt.

    A couple of issues.
    1. It does need access to my amazon account to find the books I've read.
    2. Selecting the link in association with the highlight launches Kindle and takes me right to the highlight. Super! But if I select another highlight, the Kindle app doesn't go to the second highlight. Only if Kindle is closed will it go to a different highlight.

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • Hi @Will ,

    I'm glad to hear that my script is useful to someone. :smile: )

    1. It does need access to my amazon account to find the books I've read.

    Sorry I wasn't specific enough. I meant that my script don't need to know or to store anything about your amazon account. It just use the amazon page content and no data are ever sent to anyone except you. So of course you need to be connected to your amazon account to use it.

    1. Selecting the link in association with the highlight launches Kindle and takes me right to the highlight. Super! But if I select another highlight, the Kindle app doesn't go to the second highlight. Only if Kindle is closed will it go to a different highlight.

    It seems it's a Kindle app bug. I get exact same result when I use the original function "options > Open in kindle" provided by amazon page. Chances are that only Amazon can fix this problem.

    did a fresh install of Firefox to test

    Using Firefox is not mandatory (although it is a good idea). You can use Tampermonkey or Violentmonkey depending on your favorite browser.

  • This is useful. Thank you for sharing. I downloaded highlights and notes from a book read in 2017 and refactored them into my ZK for a win! Not Caring What Other People Think Is a Super Power: Insights From A Heavyweight Boxer by Ed Latimore (Kindle) October 3, 2017.

    I use a similar javascript function to get my highlights and notes from books I read in the Scribd service. Think Netflix for books. it's called exifile.

    My preferred browser is Safari.

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @YannCharlou That's cool script! Thanks for sharing it.

    In the spirit of you can't have too many tools, I came across this:
    https://github.com/Woile/kindle-notes-parser

    It uses cargo to build a rust package that parses My Clippings.txt into individual markdown files, one file per book. It even has a simple gui. Super neat.

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