Why no notes or highlighting in Kindle magazines?

I’ve written before of the many reasons why I love e-books. One of those reasons is the ability to highlight text and make notes about what you are reading. I find this enormously valuable, and it is something I would never dream of doing in a physical book.

I’ve been reading a lot of magazines on the Kindle App on my iPad and iPhone lately, trying to catch up with stories that I missed in the SF/F magazines this year. And one thing I’ve noticed is that the highlighting and note-taking functionality doesn’t work or is deliberately disabled. This seems to be true for the four magazines that I read on the Kindle App: Analog, Asimov’s F&SF and Clarkesworld.

Does anyone know: is this a limitation to the Kindle App on the iPhone/iPad? Can you highlight/annotate magazines on a Kindle device? Or is this a limitation of the magazine format on the Kindle? Or, perhaps, is this a deliberate choice by the publisher? Any ideas from the experts out there?

I’m curious because it wouldn’t seem to be a technical limitation. I’ve discovered that I can highlight and annotate my copies of Lightspeed that I receive in ePub format and read in iBooks. So why not Kindle?


  1. I found something on Amazon’s site that indicates that annotation is not supported in periodicals. No explanation why. Since the Kindle and Kindle Periodical format are so similar, I can’t imagine that this is a technical limitation. It probably has to do more with Amazon’s perception of periodicals as temporary.

  2. You’re welcome. From my perspective, it seems like the current infrastructure for Kindle subscriptions is geared more towards newspapers. It would explain the back-end requirements and the way they auto-expire content. I’m hoping that they eventually allow subscribers to set purge/archive settings on a per-subscription basis. Right now, subscribers have to preserve issues one at a time. Makes sense to purge newspapers and even some magazines, but most people tend to stockpile back issues of fiction magazines.

  3. Hi Jamie,

    I can see how frustrating it can be to not be able to highlight important pieces of an article for reference later. It would be helpful if this function would be available for you all the time in the current Kindle app that you are using. There’s an iOS app being released in November of 2013, Snippefy http://www.snippefy.com. This app lets users read and share their Kindle highlights and notes, all in one place. You will also be able to share your notes with friends. I thought you and you community may be interested in this information. I’m sure it will be a useful tool.


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