Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Writing notes in an e-book using a stylus

Kobo Elipsa supports the writing of notes in an ebook using a stylus. The feature is not new, as it has been supported, albeit poorly, by Onyx Boox before. The main problem with Onyx Boox's implementation, due to ebook formatting, is that written notes lose their place if the content's formatting is changed (e.g., increasing font size, changing font typeface or line spacing). 

Kobo's solution to the above-noted problem, judging from their help section for the Elipsa, is to use a side bracket to bookmark the handwritten note if formatting changes. Tapping on the bookmark opens a preview box that previews the note and gives the option to return to the previous settings to view the annotation in its original location. Written notes also appear in the annotations list as markups. However, while written notes are saved on the device, there is no way to export them. 

The problem of syncing and exporting annotations - whether written or highlighted - is a Kobo weakness that the Elipsa continues. Considering the Elipsa - compared to Kobo's other traditional e-readers - is designed for note-taking and PDF reading, the user's lack of control over content is a big negative. Hence, an Android note-taking e-reader is better for users who need greater control to work between devices. 

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