Currently my highlighting and annotation setup looks like this:
- Ebooks: Kindle - Even though Amazon as a company is not without its problems, their ebook reader just works and highlighting and annotating for ebooks works with Readwise flawlessly and without friction.1
- RSS and misc. articles: Reeder and Instapaper Premium - I recently tried out Feedbin and Inoreader, but the most versatile “read an article on the web and annotate it” setup is this: Send articles from your feed reader (and anywhere else) to Instapaper and annotate them there.2
- Podcasts: Airr - I don’t think, that I will ever switch my main podcatcher from Overcast to Airr, but if I have the need to capture a part of a podcast, I can open the episode I would like to annotate and create a note that is available in Readwise through this app.
- Paper books: Readwise iOS app - I’ll have to wait and see how much of a hassle this will end up being, but in theory I could capture highlights from paper books through the iOS app. I would need to take a photo of a page and after text recognition I can highlight what I would like to keep. I have not read a paper book since I have started using Readwise, though.
- PDFs: Readwise Web App - This is one of those someday/maybe list items. It’s possible in theory to import highlights from PDFs via uploading those files and it is something I would like to have done, but not something I want to do. Most of my studying time I annotated PDFs digitally and most of those PDFs are still living in my Zotero-library.
Why even have a setup like this? Because Readwise is actually awesome. I was skeptical at first, but after reviewing highlights for about two weeks now, I can honestly say: The added engagement with my previously read stuff helps to keep me reading.3
The real kicker is something else, though: Readwise offers an official Obsidian - the note taking software - plugin that syncs my highlights to my own markdown file based knowledge base. So even if I decide to stop using Readwise, the highlights and notes will still be there, in an open and somewhat future-proof format.
And I own the 6th generation Kindle Paperwhite (from 2014) already. Throwing it away doesn’t seem to be smart. As long as it works, this works. … While writing this I looked into e-reader alternatives, but it seems that the Kindle is the most convenient choice for a consumer with my needs. ↩︎
Instapaper Premium is needed for the annotations (since you only get 5 per month on the free tier). Premium includes some other features like text-to-speech and speed reading, but I don’t really use these features. ↩︎
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