Millions of people around the world have experienced the joy of reading ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle platform. Whether it’s using a dedicated Kindle device, via the Kindle app for iOS or Android, or even for free on a computer, we’ve invested countless hours in reading and learning from these books.

But how about all those highlights you’ve made while reading? Kindle makes it so effortless to highlight the best passages, the ones you might really be able to benefit from or want to revisit later. But it’s not so easy to get those highlights OUT of their platform. There is actually no built-in way for you to export those highlights in a form that can be saved, edited, and shared with others.

But there is a way to “hack the system” using a special tool called Bookcision, and in this article I’ll show you how to use it. It’s really quite simple, but takes a little bit of practice. One of our contributors, Tasshin Fogleman, created this tutorial video to show you how. It is just one of the many powerful techniques we teach in our online course on how to curate and organize your knowledge and ideas, Building a Second Brain.



Common questions

Let me add a few notes to address common questions.

Why would I want to do this?

If there’s any reason you might want to use your highlights in the future. Maybe you’re highlighting a textbook and you want to be able to study key facts. Perhaps you’re writing a blog post and want to quote an author or cite their ideas. Or maybe you just like the way certain passages sound, and might want to revisit them someday.

Why not just use Kindle’s built-in “notebook” feature?

Because you have very little control over how those highlights are saved, edited, searched, annotated, or shared. Once they are on your computer, you can use them however you like. You become the sole owner of the highlights you’ve worked hard to create.

Which devices does this work on?

The example in the video uses the Apple operating system, called Mac OS, and Google’s web browser, Chrome. But this process can also be completed on Windows and using other browsers. Although you can make the highlights on a mobile device, this export process does have to be done on a desktop computer.

Is there any way to automate this process?

The steps demonstrated here are free, but you have to do them manually. If you’re using the notes app Evernote (that’s an affiliate link) you can pay for a service called Readwise to do it for you for $2.99 per month. We have no affiliation with them, besides being big fans. Readwise will create a dedicated notebook in your Evernote app titled “Readwise,” and any new highlights you make will show up there automatically. Click here to see my interview with the Readwise founders, including a demonstration of how it works.

Another paid option is, which I’ve never tried but I’m told works similarly.

Why do you recommend copying and pasting the highlights directly from the page, instead of using the “Copy to clipboard” or “Download” buttons?

Because this way, the location links are preserved. Clicking one of them will open the Kindle app on your computer, and take you straight to that exact location! It’s not strictly necessary, but saves you time when tracking down where a highlight came from.

What do I do next?

Once you have your highlights, you can copy and paste them into a notes app like Evernote, OneNote, Bear, or Notion, or simply paste them into Microsoft Word or a plain text file.

Now you have the distilled knowledge of many hours of reading at your fingertips! Use that knowledge for your own research or writing; put it into practice to improve your productivity or health; curate the best ideas or passages to share on social media or a blog. The possibilities are endless.

I believe so much in the power of notes to change your life and work, I’ve created a whole online course on the topic of “personal knowledge management.” In Building a Second Brain, I teach you how to save your most valuable knowledge not only from Kindle, but from over a dozen other sources like online articles, webpages, social media posts, your phone camera, and others.

Enter your email address below if you’d like to hear more about the course, click here to watch the introductory lesson which gives you a good idea of what we cover, or check out our other case studies like this one.

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