How to export annotations on Kobo Aura

January 22, 2018 • miscellaneous

I bought my first e-reader in 2013, it was a glorious Sony Prs-T2. After 2 very intense years of reading it died, so I replaced it with a Kobo Aura (the original model).

I love it, at the moment the reading stats show 145 books finished and 1238 hours read (in 30 months), and it’s still going strong.

It does everything I want to, and I’m happy because I don’t want a Kindle for a whole set of ethical and functional reasons.

The only thing that annoyed me a bit was the annotations feature. Ok, it’s still way better than the Sony’s one, but since I underline a lot I found the impossibility of transferring the annotations on my computer quite frustrating (just browsing annotations from the Aura is too slow, and I want them saved and backupped on my pc/evernote anyway).

I had found a few blog posts like this one on the web, but I’m not a computer geek and I couldn’t exactly figure out what I needed to do… So I asked my personal guru, Roberto “Kalamun” Pasini, to find a foolproof solution, and here it is.

(He has an older Kobo mini and it works on it as well, it should work fine on every Kobo but I’ve actually tried only on my Kobo Aura and his Kobo mini)

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Edit 23rd July 2018

This method works on the Kobo Clara HD as well, as noted on this review.
If you try it on other Kobo models I’ll add them here.

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Edit 12th September 2018

As Elizabeth rightly pointed out in the comments, this trick won’t work on a Mac. But it should be no problem anyway, if you’re using a Mac you’re very likely using a Kindle as well.

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Here are the instructions, something I wish I had when I bought my Kobo!

  1. Download this folder (Google drive link) on your computer
  2. Connect your Kobo, enter the “.Kobo” folder inside it and copy the “KoboReader.sqlite” file in the “Kobo” folder from step 1
  3. Open the “Kobo” folder, double click on the “work” file and… voilà! A .doc file (named “Annotations”) will appear, and it contains all the annotations in your Kobo, ready to be copied and pasted wherever you want.
    They include the book title, and so on, if you wanna remove these…
  4. Download Notepad++ (it’s free)
  5. Right click on “Annotations” >> Edit with Notepad++
  6. Click CTRL+H
  7. Set everything as the following screenshot, and click “Replace all”. You’re done!

– Matteo Pezzi

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8 commenti a “How to export annotations on Kobo Aura”

  1. Dall April 26, 2018

    Nice, it worked exactly has described!

    As I was struggling with extracting kobo annotations for a while and couldn’t find any viable solution so far, your post has been super helpful to me. Many thanks!

    1. matteopezzi April 26, 2018

      Thank you Dall!
      It’s been a game-changer for me… Saved me so much time!

  2. robiroboter May 25, 2018

    What a cool and simple way to read the highlights 😯 Oh man, you’ve just saved my EACH AND EVERY day 😀 😀 😀 Thx a lot.

    1. matteopezzi May 25, 2018

      You’re welcome! I think it’s the smallest action that saved the most time in my life!! 🙂

  3. Robert J. Sawyer June 30, 2018

    Thank you so much for this! On my Kobo Aura and Kobo Aura HD, rather than seeing the actual title of Kobo purchased books, I’m instead seeing an alphanumeric string, for example:

    0b170c53-8c6f-490c-b198-535898303cc

    or

    150e1e64-7275-452f-a568-81054dcdaee

    These match the file names (lacking any extension) for the purchased ebooks, in the folder on the Kobo ereader named \.kobo\kepub

    It’s only for side-loaded ebooks (loaded by Calibre, rather than by synching with the Kobo bookstore) that I see book titles, such as:

    file:///mnt/sd/Morton, Oliver/Mapping Mars – Oliver Morton.kepub.epub

    The “/sd” refers to a book stored on the external microSD card; a sideloaded book in main memory, is listed as “/onboard” instead:

    file:///mnt/onboard/Lowell, Percival/Mars and Its Canals – Percival Lowell.kepub.epub

    I don’t suppose there’s a way to have the exported annotations actually list the book title for purchased Kobo books which have been synched directly from the Kobo servers?

    Many thanks

    1. matteopezzi July 1, 2018

      Hi Robert, glad it’s useful! It was a game changer for me.
      I can’t help you because I’ve never bought a single book from the Kobo store, I buy/donwload them elsewhere and always pass through Calibre first and keep Calibre as my main library.
      I keep the Calibre library directory on a Dropbox folder so when I drag a book on Calibre I automatically have an online backup.
      On my Kobo I only keep books I’m reading/will read, and when I finish them I donwload the notes, organize them and put them on Evernote, and then delete the ebook from the Kobo as I don’t like to have it full of read books.
      The notes browsing on the Kobo is such a pain in the ass that I wouldn’t read them anyway, I’d rather read them on Evernote.
      On a normal day I have on my Kobo 2/3 books that I’m reading + around 20 books I might wanna read soon.
      A side solution to your problem though, come to think about it, might be this:
      – open the .doc file on Notepad++
      – select the alphanumeric string, let’s say “0b170c53-8c6f-490c-b198-535898303cc”, and copy it
      – click ctrl+H
      – in “find what” (see pic on the post) paste the string
      – in “replace with” write the book title
      – click “replace all”
      Should work I think, but let me know, I’m curious!
      Have a good sunday, Matteo

    2. Elizabeth Ü September 6, 2018

      Hi Robert – I just had the same experience using this method to export annotations on Library books on my Kobo Aura One. The good news: it exports annotations from ALL books that ever were on the device, including those from library books that already returned themselves on their due dates! (I was expecting this would be the case as I know that when you check out a book again, all your annotations remain intact, so they must be stored on the device.)(Now that I’m writing this I’m realizing I can’t vouch for books that I’d side-loaded and then removed from the device, as I haven’t voluntarily removed any books yet.

      Matteo – thanks so much for asking your friend to create this system for you, and for sharing it with us! I’m totally happy finding/replacing to get the right book titles in there 🙂

      My only suggestion for this post: maybe indicate somewhere in your instructions that you need to have a PC for this to work. I’m super nerdy in many ways but not when it comes to scripts and such, which meant that I tried to run this first on a Mac, then a Chromebook, and finally resorted to asking my partner if I could try it on his PC… third time’s a charm!

      1. matteopezzi September 12, 2018

        Elizabeth thank you very much! Glad you use this solution!
        And you’re right, I hadn’t mentioned in the post the Windows/Mac issue, will add it! Probably it’s just because if it were up to me I would just make a huge bonfire with everything that comes out of an Apple factory, and so much for them 🙂
        Ciao!

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