Is Your Clipping Limit Exceeded?

clipping_limit_exceededClipping limit? An  oxymoron? Those of us who love to mark up our books sometimes go overboard. I remember packing some of my old college textbooks and seeing how most of the text was highlighted in bright yellow. How does that help? an older and wiser me mused.

Enter the age of digital text. No marker required to do as much highlighting as I want. And with the Kindle, I can store and revisit my highlighted passages online.

However, there is a bit of a glitch. Amazon will only store and show a limited number of my “clippings” from the book on my Kindle page ( Publishers and authors are rightfully wary of people clipping an outsized portion of the book and displaying it online.

Amazon says:

For some books the publisher allows only a limited percentage of a book to be “clipped” and stored separately from the main body of the book, as normally happens when you add a highlight. If you exceed this limit then you will see fewer highlights on this website than you actually marked on your Kindle. Popular Highlights are not counted towards this clipping limit.

Now this doesn’t limit the number of highlights that you can make in the ebook itself on your Kindle; it just limits the number that you can view at your Kindle page online, “stored separately from the main body of the book.”

I really should say “amount” rather than “number” because the limit is set as a percentage of the book, not by the number of clippings. So, a few really large clippings could use up a limit of 10% of the book in rather quick fashion. Presumably, you could save a larger number if each one is smaller.

Limit clipping size

Another way to avoid exceeding the limit is to simply be judicious in your highlighting. I find that even though I am interested in many passages on a single page, I only need to highlight one of them to revisit them all later on. In fact, this more economical way of highlighting forces me to find the crux of what I think is important and allow the surrounding text to act as a gloss on that single passage I have highlighted.

Save more clippings with cut and paste technique

You can also export your highlights as a way of saving them. If you do this regularly, you can save all of your highlights and perhaps leave only the key ones visible on your Kindle page. I just do a copy / paste from my Highlights page into a Word doc or text file, delete the less important ones, and keep my reserve of space for visible passages as robust as I can.

When I was a student, I know this service would have saved me a LOT of time retyping passages from the text when I wrote a paper about it. In this context, all of the virtues of digital text for reflection and research are simply enhanced by the ability to store snippets of text where they are easy to access.

  6 comments for “Is Your Clipping Limit Exceeded?

  1. AnthonyJ
    March 1, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Thank you very much for your article. it gave me the idea i needed to overcome the limiting problem…
    for some odd reason i am not able to export my highlights so what i was able to do is:
    highlight my text – open up my highlighted text, then click on create flashcard deck, then edit my card or select see more if available, then highlight and copy then paste into my document… No problem with the limit problem…

    Thank you so much – You definitely led me in the right direction!!!

  2. July 21, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Thanks Will – that’s great to hear. is still in development, but any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Will DeLamater
    July 20, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Thanks Mik! Very cool stuff. Love the timeline for development on your website. Will share this with the group over at so they can share with their students. Great idea and very useful in an academic environment!

  4. MIk
    July 19, 2016 at 7:21 am

    FYI: A way to extract highlights and manage them more productively is (full disclosure: I’m the creator of that software!)

  5. Will DeLamater
    November 12, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Peter, thanks for the comment! What the percentage is apparently depends on the publisher but I feel confident that the number is in the 10% to 20% for any given book. I will dig to see if I can find something more definitive, though most commentators on this subject mention the range I have cited. Again, not much transparency…;-(

  6. November 9, 2015 at 4:00 am

    I had the idea that there might be a limit to highlights, but no idea on the exact percentage. Think it may vary among different publishers?

    And thanks for the tip, to export the highlights then remove them for more highlights to show up. It’ll help a lot when dropping down important points and notes indeed.

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