HowTo export e-book annotations from Kobo eReaders (on Linux)

Honza chodec, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Reading is one of my big hobbies. And in the meantime, I also read non-fiction and scientific literature on my Kobo eReader. For me, one important part of reading and learning from non-fiction books is to make annotations. Kobo supports making highlights and annotations in ebooks.

But the question is now, how to get them from the eReader for further usage or processing (and of course, on a Linux machine)?

After some search, I found a small but excellent open source script to do so:

Installation is pretty easy:

git clone
cd export-kobo

Afterwards, connect your eReader and mount it. Then:

# let's assume, the kobo is mounted in /Volumes/KOBOeReader/
cp /Volumes/KOBOeReader/.kobo/KoboReader.sqlite ./
# this copies the database with annotations from the device to your laptop
#  I would recommend to do it, so the database in your eReader can't be damaged

Finally, you can list all existing annotations and export all or a selection, e.g. in the markdown format:

python3 KoboReader.sqlite --list
# export in Markdown list format
python3 KoboReader.sqlite --markdown --book "Alice in Wonderland"

Using the markdown format, there exists the option to add chapter headings:

python3 KoboReader.sqlite --markdown --add-chapter-headings

The export-kobo framework also offers to browse the annotations via a web interface. For this feature, some dependencies are necessary:

# create python virtualenv and install flask
python3 -m venv venv
source ./venv/bin/activate
pip install flask
# start a web server to navigate the content with a UI
python3 KoboReader.sqlite --ui


I preferred the flexibility of the above presented way, with the sqlite database and then (adaptable) export formats, above the “experimental” method with Export Highlights I found here:

# connect the kobo to your PC/Laptop
# navigate to the Kobo root directory
vim .kobo/Kobo/Kobo\ eReader.conf
# add the following lines at the bottom


Then, in the “my books” menu, you can select Export Highlights in the context menu of each book.

Image credits: Honza chodec, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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