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Old 07-04-2017, 03:57 PM   #1
MrOneTwo
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Merge notes into epub file?

Hi guys, I've searched the web trying to find a solution to my problem but I didn't, so here's my question:
I currently read on a paperwhite 2, and I've got a lot of annotations in my ebooks. Now, if in the future I'm gonna change ereader and switch to, for example, a kobo, all my highlighting work is going to be lost.
I'm aware that I can export MyClippings, but it isn't enough for my reading style...
what I would really be able to do is to merge all my notes into the actual ebook file, or at least into a separate file that can be managed by any ereader: if I put my amazon-purchased ebook into a kobo I'd like to find all my annotations...
I'm afraid that this is not possible, but doesn't it bother you? I find that this is a really big problem related to e-reading, in 10 years from now I'll probably have lost a lot of the work I've done..
Sorry for any kind of error, but english isn't my first language.
Thanks
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:59 PM   #2
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I'm afraid that this is not possible, but doesn't it bother you?
Not in the least.
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:07 PM   #3
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If merging annotations into your book is important for you, you should use the format which is designed to allow this: PDF.
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:18 PM   #4
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I'll try to explain myself: I'm talking about non-fiction books. Right now I'm reading a really big book about WW2, I'm reading it because I enjoy it, but of course I'd like to learn and remember something, so I highlight some parts and take notes. In 10 years from now it would be nice to still have all of those, or I wouldn't bother to do it.
Of course I can use PDF, but then I'll have to read them on a tablet and not on an ereader... It's not the same
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:47 PM   #5
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Of course I can use PDF, but then I'll have to read them on a tablet and not on an ereader... It's not the same
if by "ereader" you mean "a device with an eInk screen", there are many large-screen eInk devices available which are absolutely fine for PDF reading. I'm afraid PDF really is your only choice if you want annotations merged with the book.
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:43 PM   #6
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...
Of course I can use PDF, but then I'll have to read them on a tablet and not on an ereader... It's not the same
There's no "of course" that applies here.

If you are foolish enough to convert your AZW/MOBI, or ePub for that matter, to PDF specifying a large paper size then you would be limited to devices with a similarly large screen. If you intelligently specify an appropriately small page when converting, one roughly the size of your ereader's screen, and specify an appropriate character size and margin width, then the resulting PDF will display fine on an ereader.

The biggest issue with using a classic ereader is that you will need reading software that supports standard PDF notes that can be saved into the PDF file. Not all lightweight ereader PDF apps will do this.

Whatever the issue, PDF is the best format choice for your needs.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:12 AM   #7
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Not in the least.
I'm with you. I was never in the habit of writing in paper books, and I haven't felt the need for any annotations that aren't short term reminders of things to fix or look up when near a computer.

But...

If we are talking epub, ADE has an annotations file. It is XML and includes references to the location in the epub for the annotations. The Kobo ereaders also use these for epubs (plus a database). As an experiment, and with a bit of fiddling, I have moved one of these between ADE on the PC and one of my Kobos. It was a while ago, so I'm not sure if it would be practical to automate this. But, generating the file for any other format, would be hard. As would mapping from annotations for a Kindle to an epub.

The other problem with this is that ADE based readers/apps would be the only ones that support the files. Reading them for the calibre view probably wouldn't be hard, but the viewer doesn't have good enough support for annotations for this to be worth it.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:03 AM   #8
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If one is really worried about losing all their notes because of an electronic form, I have a very simple solution. Take notes the old school way with a paper notebook and an ink pen.
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:22 PM   #9
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WTF?

With amazement i have read a number of the answers here, denying the validity of the question or making fun of it, Old guys like me consider these kinds of forums as a way to help peple?: of course it makes much sense to want to keep notes in an electronic form, tightly coupled with the original text. Tranpirable in a neutral format

As an it-guy myself i could imagine a merge, but would not know how to do it at the moment.

So the only help i Can offer at the moment is pointing at epub composition tooling like Sigil and the supportgroup around it
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Old 07-05-2017, 03:21 PM   #10
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With amazement i have read a number of the answers here, denying the validity of the question or making fun of it, Old guys like me consider these kinds of forums as a way to help peple?: of course it makes much sense to want to keep notes in an electronic form, tightly coupled with the original text. Tranpirable in a neutral format
The question has been answered. The PDF format provides the required capabilities.
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Old 07-05-2017, 07:41 PM   #11
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The question has been answered. The PDF format provides the required capabilities.
Not really. The PDF has the ability to keep annotations, but PDF on a kindle (and in general) has a lot of other disadvantages; if it doesn't, why do we use ebooks?
I know that probably there's no solution for my request, at least right now, but I still absolutely believe this is a missing feature of the epub/awz3 standard. And for a guy like my father, for example, that reads almost exclusively non-fiction books and works on them and with them, this is a deal-breaker in using an e-ink device.
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Old 07-05-2017, 07:59 PM   #12
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There is a standard for embedding notes into EPUB documents. I took a look at it once, and it looked very complicated. That's probably why no one has implemented it yet, at least to my knowledge.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:02 PM   #13
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With amazement i have read a number of the answers here, denying the validity of the question or making fun of it
Could you point out the posts where someone made fun of the question, or denied the validity of it? I can't find an example of either in this thread.

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Old 07-06-2017, 06:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by MrOneTwo View Post
I currently read on a paperwhite 2, and I've got a lot of annotations in my ebooks. Now, if in the future I'm gonna change ereader and switch to, for example, a kobo, all my highlighting work is going to be lost.
I'm aware that I can export MyClippings, but it isn't enough for my reading style...
what I would really be able to do is to merge all my notes into the actual ebook file, or at least into a separate file that can be managed by any ereader: if I put my amazon-purchased ebook into a kobo I'd like to find all my annotations...
I'm afraid that this is not possible, but doesn't it bother you? I find that this is a really big problem related to e-reading, in 10 years from now I'll probably have lost a lot of the work I've done..
This is a sore spot for any reflowable digital documents. Since ~2009, there is a draft of the "Open Annotation" standard by the W3C:

https://www.w3.org/blog/2017/02/maki...ns-on-the-web/

To my knowledge, nothing really uses this (yet).

Side Note: As others have mentioned, each of Highlights/Notes implementations typically create their own little walled-gardens. Some of them can be read about on the Wikipedia page about Web Annotation.

EPUB3 has a draft for Open Annotation:

http://www.idpf.org/epub/oa/

... but again, nothing really implements this stuff (just like a lot of the arcane/obscure portions of the EPUB standard... like Indexes).

The closest I could actually find as a cross-browser EPUB-reader that supported Annotations was Hypothes.is. I haven't done much more research into it, but I posted some info + a speech in a Side Note in this post.

I know that Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 recently introduced an EPUB-reader with Highlight/Notes support... but in typical Microsoft fashion, that only works within Edge. And to the last of my knowledge, they also refuse to allow you to export your Highlights/Notes because of potential copyright reasons (absolutely absurd).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
If one is really worried about losing all their notes because of an electronic form, I have a very simple solution. Take notes the old school way with a paper notebook and an ink pen.
I agree with this.

Or you could always take your own notes in a good ol' TXT document. Those won't be going anywhere or becoming obsolete any time soon. :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrOneTwo View Post
Not really. The PDF has the ability to keep annotations, but PDF on a kindle (and in general) has a lot of other disadvantages; if it doesn't, why do we use ebooks?
I know that probably there's no solution for my request, at least right now, but I still absolutely believe this is a missing feature of the epub/awz3 standard. And for a guy like my father, for example, that reads almost exclusively non-fiction books and works on them and with them, this is a deal-breaker in using an e-ink device.
While some companies have tackled sharing Notes/Highlights across your devices easily (within their walled garden of course... like Amazon), there are some other problems.

As HarryT and dwig mentioned, CURRENTLY the best bet is probably an Android device with PDF annotations. Embedding it in the PDF should allow your annotations to be portable across PC/Laptop/Tablet.

Side Note: But even with PDF, many times Adobe's products implement methods in an Adobe-specific way (which doesn't work well with non-Adobe-PDF Reader X, Y, or Z.) or vice versa.

PDF was made to sort of be "set in stone". So the look/source won't change very much at a future date....

Ebooks are a different beast though. Minor/Serious changes can occur under the hood all the time (for example, you may change HTML from <i>italic word</i> to <em>italic word</em>. Or tools/workflows may change [Calibre/KindleGen/WhateverTool might be updated, causing very minor output differences].).

One of the serious issues is that all the annotations go poof when the document itself gets updated/changed. A simple change such as a typo correction can shift or throw off all highlights (see Moon+ Reader), or all the Notes/Highlights are thrown away when you allow the book to update (Amazon/Kindles).

Then you have the whole set of devices that don't let you export Notes at all (Nook?) or as davidfor mentioned, ones that store them in their own proprietary little way that require serious reverse engineering (Kobo).

Overall, long story short, Notes/Highlights in ebooks suck. Use paper.

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 07-06-2017 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:35 AM   #15
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I haven't read every single line in the thread, but if you have the book in calibre, you could, after you finish it, export your clippings, and then put them into the book using the calibre editor. Just make a new page, and paste notes in there, using <p></p> tags around each paragraph.

Then replace the book on your reader.

It takes some work, but this is what I'd do.
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