How I tab books

Hello gorgeous people!

There are many opinions about annotating books and writing on them and all that. Personally, I don’t like writing on the book at all, it makes me uncomfortable somehow, but it doesn’t mean I judge if someone else does it. I mean, you do you and if annotating on the book makes you happy and makes you enjoy the story, then do it. However, what I do like doing is tabbing books. But before getting to how I tab, a little short story.

Once upon time, there was a girl who didn’t know what tabbing was until she saw someone tabbing their books. At first the girl thought it was not that great an idea because you had to stop reading to put a tab on the page, so the girl was a little bit reluctant to tabbing her books. Years went by and the girl changed her mind. Whenever she was reading a series, she felt like she needed to mark important things about the characters, the world, her favorite quotes or scenes. In that moment she knew she had to give tabbing a try.

Since the girl didn’t really know much about it, she started watching a lot of Youtube videos about this topic, which to this day, are her favorite type of videos to watch, even when she already has her own method. And now here we are.

In case you didn’t know, the girl from the story is me lol so I thought that making a post about my favorite topic in the book community was a great idea because, just like all those videos I watched back then, this post might help someone who is trying to get into tabbing or just want to know what it is about. I really hope at least one person finds this post helpful, or interesting. Just know that I’m not an expert, I started not long ago and I still have things to learn, but I want to share what I know with you.

Now that I gave you this super long introduction, let’s get into the tabbing world lol.

First of all, it’s important to tell you that this is how I tab the books I read. There is not right or wrong way to tabbing, you create your own method that helps you with your needs. Wether it is because you want to remember important information for a review or for a book discussion or just because you want to go back to mark your favorite parts of the story.

Second, you don’t have to tab every book you read. If you don’t feel like tabbing a book, don’t do it. I only tab the books I feel like I will end up loving. I also tab books in a series because I suck at remembering names and characteristics and important information, so even when I’m binge reading a series, I forget stuff, that’s why tabbing makes me remember things more easily. And finally I tab my favorite books, AKA books I reread.

Third, I think this is important to mention. Before going to a shop or ordering online your tabs, make a list of the things you will be tabbing on books. That way you’ll know how many color tabs you will need.

And finally but not least, don’t be afraid to change your tabbing system. As time goes by and you tab more and more books, you will get to know yourself better and decide what works best for you. So don’t worry if you have to change your way of tabbing over and over again. Just keep in mind that you do what works best for you, don’t try to copy someone else. I mean, you can of course get inspired from others, but just because your favorite booktuber or your best friend or any other person tabs a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to tab like them. Did I make sense? Lol.

Anyway, now let’s get to how I tab books.

how i tab books

But first, the materials I use. I use this package of tabs that come with seven different colors. The tabs are made of see-through plastic, which is amazing because I can put them on the actual words and I can still read the sentence without a problem. Also, the glue is not that sticky, so if you take the tab off, it doesn’t take the ink off either. Or at least, with the books I’ve tabbed so far, I haven’t had a problem with this.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

I bought them from Amazon, here’s the link. This is only a reference, since these are the ones available in Amazon Mexico. You can search for the ones sold through Amazon in your country or from your local stationer’s shop.

Now, my key. Each color means a different thing. I use this key with every book I read because coming up with a different one every time I start a new book, will make my mind go crazy. It took me a lot of tries to get to this system.

But anyway, even when the package has seven colors, I use an extra one. You’ll see.

The first color is pink. So pink I associate it with love, that’s why whenever I read a romantic moment or an angsty one, I use this tab. You might wonder why I tab angst, and if you don’t, then it doesn’t matter, I’m telling you anyway lol. I love angst and when going back to a book, I love rereading those moments of tension and heartbreak and drama. And since I consider angst to be related to love/romance, I matched it to this color.

Then we have orange. I use this tab whenever we get information about a character, like their physical appearance or their backstory. Basically, anything that helps me get to know the character better.

The next color is yellow. Since yellow is a bright color, it kind of reminds me of happiness. So with it I tab all those moments in a book that make me happy or that make me smile or laugh, but also I tab moments that get me all excited or that I think are cute.

Green is next. I use the green tab when something in the book makes me angry, sad or annoyed.

The next tab is blue. Since blue is my favorite color, I use this tab for all the moments/quotes that I love or that I consider my favorites.

Before getting to the last two tabs, I think there’s something you need to know. That way you will understand why I use an extra color. So I have no idea why or if it’s me and my bad luck, but whenever I go to shops where they sell stationery, I never find purple tabs. I mean, if I want purple tabs, I have to buy this type of package that alternates between one purple tab and a pink one. So if I want only the purple ones, I have to take a pink tab out of the way and find a place to put them so they don’t go to waste. With that in mind, I had to think very carefully for what purpose I was going to use the purple tabs so to not run out of them that easily.

This was my solution:

The light purple is to mark any kind of interesting information I come across the book, like fun facts. It’s not vital information to the understanding of the world or the characters, but it’s just additional information that I just find interesting. For example, if in the book they are explaining a fighting technique, it is not essential to the understanding of the world or important to get to know the character better, but I find it interesting knowing how the fighting technique works.

And for the dark purple, I use it for plot twists. Whenever I read a plot twist that I really enjoyed or found clever and fascinating, also for moments that shocked me.

Last but not least, the extra color tab I use, red. I think red is a color that stands out, that’s why whenever there’s information that helps me understand and imagine the world in which the book is set (mainly in fantasy or sci-fi books), I use this tab. Basically, everything that has to do with world building.

And this is it, but before saying goodbye, I created a Youtube playlist with all the videos I watched about this topic that helped me to create my system. I hope you find the playlist useful. I also hope that this post helps you in a way.

One last thing, I’m so sorry this is a very long post, but I had to clarify a lot of things for them to make sense to you. And to not make this even longer, I will stop here. Thank you if you’re still reading up to this point, you are the best!

If you have any questions about tabbing or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments down below.

Until the next post!

Happy reading 💙


4 thoughts on “How I tab books”

  1. Ahh I’ve been meaning to get into tabbing my books for so long and couldn’t settle on meanings behind each colour, but your blog has helped me out greatly! Your system is perfect! Thank you so much for sharing 😊


  2. I’ve been struggling to organize my mind and settle on a system to tab (I kept changing the way I did it and getting overwhelmed because I couldn’t remember how/why I had done it) and this helped me, thank you for taking the time to write your system down!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s