I thought it could be fun or helpful to go over how I go about putting tabs in my books! I definitely do not do this to every book, in fact, I don’t do it often at all, but it helps me out when I’m read a dense sci-fi or fantasy book. I would say maybe 10% of my books are tabbed, if that.
I’ve been using the same tabs for awhile now, and I can’t recommend them enough! There are 7 colors, they are thin, and they are cheap, which is all I’m looking for in sticky tabs. My one complaint is that the “light purple” color is a little gross looking in real life, but other than that, I love them. They are on Amazon!
Here is what I use each color for:
Pink – any important information on world building
Orange – information on characters, like physical description or pivotal scenes
Yellow – miscellaneous important information
Green – anything I think could be foreshadowing
Blue – any really sad scenes
Light Purple – questions
Dark Purple – favorite scenes or quotes
I’m not sure why I felt that I needed to specifically mark sad scenes over any other emotion, but I’m sticking (lol) with it. These are just things that I find useful when reading. I feel like when I am tabbing, I think a little more critically about what I am reading. I will think about if a certain moment or piece of information is important enough to tab or to ever look back on. I think it’s fun to look back anything I marked in green, to see if I was right and it was foreshadowing.
These are just the sticky tabs I use and the meanings that I personally place on each color. The cool thing about doing this is that it is totally up to you! There are so many different options for tabs out there, and a million different things you could mark with different colors, or you could not care about colors at all. I’ve seen people assign each color a feeling, which I think is pretty cool. With that method, you can go back and see that the book maybe contains mostly one color, or maybe the first part and the last part contain very different colors.
During my read through of The Stormlight Archive, I have been marking each chapter with a tab so that I can easily find the beginning of each chapter. These chapters all start with epigraphs, so if I just want to look back at those, it is easy to do so. I do this on the top of the book, rather than on the side, where all my other tabs go. Even I admit that this is a bit excessive (and also adds a surprising amount of thickness to that area of the book), but it has helped me out a few times.
I really enjoy tabbing certain books, though I definitely think that my method wouldn’t work for a lot of what I read. Some books just aren’t that deep or complicated.
Do you tab your books? If so, I’m curious what kind of things you tab!