Why & How I Tab Books

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I recently got asked on Instagram about why and how I tab books, and as per @emhdejong‘s request, here’s why and how I tab books!


I usually tab books to mark different aspects of a book, such as romance and quotes that I like. I always tab books that I personally request from publishers, such as THE MIDNIGHT STAR and CARAVAL (although I haven’t read it yet, I’m planning to!). I sometimes tab books that have a lot of hype, such as SIX OF CROWS and A COURT OF MISTย AND FURY.



I use little Post-It notes or sometimes a pad of pre-cut tabs to mark aspects of a book. I have four primarily colors, but you can obviously use more than that number! Here’s my key:

  • orange: quotes I particularly like
  • blue: funny/quirky lines
  • pink: romantic scenes/quotes
  • yellow: discussion-worthy quotes/events


You can do whatever you would like to those tabs! You can write little notes on them since they’re Post-Its, change up the colors, etc! It’s really all up to you!

Do you tab books? What do you use to tab? Comment below with your thoughts!


66 thoughts on “Why & How I Tab Books

  1. I tab usually with washi tape. I don’t use various of colors like you do, but just take washi tape I’m in a mood for, so per book it’s usually one-two colors, and I just underline and write my notes in my books and then tab it so I could easily find my notes and underlines.
    I actually like your way with more colors, maybe I’ll try it out.
    I tab/write in every physical book I read, except of borrowed ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only started tabbing my books this year, and I don’t do it in all of them. I usually tab the ones I read on my tablet, because most of them are from netgalley / authors, but I don’t color-code (I should start doing it, tho). Thanks for the tips ๐Ÿ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t really tab my books. I usually only want to keep track of quotes that I like, so if I’m reading a physical books, I keep a list of page numbers, and if I’m reading an ebook, I just highlight. But I love your system! When I do readings for school, I use a lot of highlighters and color-code them. I haven’t thought of using tabs before – I’ll have to try that out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I usually use all one color tabs, but it depends on the book. Like for My Lady Jane and Six of Crows I used one color for dialogue and the other for writing. If it’s a part of a series that I love with a few different main characters, I’ll have a few different colors, so one for each MC then kind of everyone else. After awhile I’ve just gotten so used to the way I tab my books, it’s just kind of a natural thing for me (did that even make any sense??). I really like how you do it though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t believe I have never thought to do this! I am constantly hunting for scenes or quotes during book clubs, so this will help a ton. I used to keep a notebook, but I kept forgetting it places… This is much easier! Where do you store the tabs while you are reading?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. love it! isn’t it weird how some people try to keep their books looking “nice” and as if they haven’t been read? I always mark my favourite passages because it makes me feel like I’ve personalised the book and put myself and my thoughts into the story a bit as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve just recently gotten into tabbing physical books and I actually use highlighter tape to mark pages and then I take sticky notes and write my thoughts down if I need to for a particular tab. I try to keep it pretty simple with my color system though. I usually pick one for quotes and one for noteworthy things I want to remember. ๐Ÿ˜Š


  8. i also tabbed my books! i don’t really use any particular color though, it usually changes depends on the book i’m reading ๐Ÿ™‚ i love tabbing my books because it personalized the book and make it looked loved, without actually writing in it โค i mostly used transparent post it so i can just stick it anywhere without obscuring the text. i usually do it for quotes and favorite scenes in books.


  9. Huh, I’ve never even thought about tabbing books before! I color code pretty much everything else in my life so I am definitely going to be trying this with my next paper book!


  10. I just started using book tabs for school books and I loved seeing your method for regular! I may buy some more and amp up my tab game ^_^


  11. I do tab my books quite often! I don’t have a key for which tabs go with what. Mainly, I put a post it on the page and will write a small description, or note saying why I tabbed it.


  12. This is the first time ever that I’ve seen a blogger or a bookstagrammer describe the process of tabbing. I’m intrigued, truly. I may start this process with my VERY small book collection, but, nonetheless, I have books that I can tab. That’s a blessing within itself.

    Thank you for blogging this!๐Ÿ‘


  13. Oh this is such a good idea! I mostly read ebooks so I just highlight in my kindle, but I never even use different colors, so I always have to read through everything I highlighted when I want to find something lol. But having color coding to mark different types of things is smart, and I will definitely need to pick myself up some sticky notes for using in physical books since I never know how to mark the things I like in those!


  14. I really want/need to come up with a consistent way to tab books. It’ll help so much with writing reviews!


  15. YES I TAB MY BOOKS TOO!!! But in the case of a ebook I’m usually highlighting… it just makes things so much more easier when I review my books and of course if I do pick up the book again I can reminisce in my favourite quotes ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’œ


  16. THIS IS SUCH A COOL IDEA! I’ve been thinking about doing this ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s a cool way to keep track of everything and it looks so cool when you’re done. I want to mark every time a character dies in game of Thrones because that would be interesting haha xD I might start doing this too ๐Ÿ™‚ nice post.


  17. I didn’t know this was a thing .. I have been writing sentences I like from books in my phone. I’m getting myself some post-it notes!


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