Best Pen for Annotating Books

By Irene Daraman Written by Irene Daraman Expertise: Technology, Learning, and Money Title: - Author and Freelance Writer Education: - Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of La Salette Work Experience: - Registered Nurse with 10+ years of experience in BPO and healthcare industries - Management position in a Fortune 500 company, driving operational excellence and exceeding targets - Designing and implementing business plans and strategies to promote the attainment of goals, including financial (money matter), technology, and internal learning and development - Patient care coordinator in a California-based private practice - Experience as a personal injury medical records reviewer and demand letter writer in a Texas law firm - 5+ years of content/article writing experience, delivering engaging and informative pieces across various domains About: I am a Registered Nurse with 10+ years of experience in BPO and the healthcare industry. With a specialization in public and community nursing, I possess a deep understanding of patient care. Currently working in a management position at a Fortune 500 company, where I drive operational excellence and exceed targets. I am responsible for using technology at work, and driving learning and development. I am an expert in technology, learning, and money related topics from my corporate work experience. Public Profiles:
Updated on April 3, 2022

Annotating while reading books has been practiced by many to help readers organize content so that it will be easier to go back and check the part they need. It also helps a person read actively and remember the context of certain content easily. Annotating also promotes a better understanding of the book and better retention. There are four strategies used to annotate a book. It includes highlighting, paraphrasing, descriptive outlining, and commenting. The most common tools used in this process are pen, ballpen, and highlighter. 

A good pen would be necessary for annotating a book. The best pen for annotation depends on the reader and the type of paper. Issues with erasability could also be a factor. Colored pens are commonly used and said to be the best for annotation. Ballpoint pens, on the other hand, work best with cheap papers. If you are looking for more practical use, you can use multi-colored pens. But, for a smoother and better quality, you can have a more expensive type of pen.

Best Pen for Annotating Books

Top annotating pens in your college classes

Studying in college is a crucial part of your future career. And let’s admit it, studying in college is quite demanding and stressful as it is. Topics become more and more complex that are hard to absorb and memorize. Annotation is the best strategy for students to comprehend the topic more quickly. It fosters reader engagement to the topic, thus, promoting retention and better understanding. College student prefers: 


Ballpoint pens such as Uni-Ball Jetstream, Pilot, Bic Cristal Xtra Bold, and many more, are excellent everyday pens. It uses a tiny, revolving ball at the tip to dispense the oil-based ink. It is the best option for annotating books because it writes smoothly and dries quicker than the rest. 


Rollerball uses the same mechanism as ballpoint pens. But, unlike ballpoint pens, rollerball uses water-based liquid or gelled ink that is more vivid, thicker, and more vibrant than ballpoint pens. It is more comfortable to use than ballpoint pens because it requires less pressure when writing. They are a better choice for writing cards or sending handwritten notes. 

Gel pens 

Gel pens produce clear, sharp lines, bolder and darker marks than ballpoints or rollerballs. Because its ink is a bit messier than other types of pens, students steer clear from using them. Gel pens are more useful in bulleted note taking. 


Highlighter uses felt-tip and water-based ink that is transparent fluorescent. Students love to use highlighter in annotating books to make the text stand out more. The neon-colored highlighter draws attention to more important topics. It also stimulates mental activity because of its colors. 


A pencil is a thin stick of graphite confined in a thin piece of wood that you need to sharpen before using it for annotation. Some students prefer pencil to annotation, especially when writing permanently on a book is prohibited. A pencil is used so that it would be easier to erase if you need to remove the annotations.

Good cheap pen for annotating books

Pens can cost from $0.10 each up to $35 for a high-end pen. Annotating doesn’t have to use expensive pens. Here are a few good budget pens for annotating books: 

  • Pilot Pens– FriXion, G2, V5 or V7, Varsity, G-Tech or Hi-Tec
  • Zebra Pens– Sarasa, F/G-301, F-701, and F-402
  • Uniball Pens– Jetstream, Signo, Onyx, and Vision
  • Lamy Pens -Safari, Al-Star, Vista
  • Sharpie Pens– Plastic Point Stick Water Resistant Pen

Should I annotate my books with a pen or pencil? 

There has been a debate whether to use permanent pens or pencils to annotate books. Using a pen will permanently mark your books, and there could be issues in the future when you decide to sell your books. Some treat books like sacred objects and want to be kept clean and neat. Thus, some viewed annotating as a form of tampering. Others opt to use a pencil rather than a pen, so they can erase it easily as they want. In conclusion, either you use a pen or pencil to annotate on books, it’s fine as long as you’re not doing it in something that doesn’t belong to you.

Best luxury annotating pens

Though it seems it doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars for a pen used for annotation, there are several reasons why people still buy luxury pens. Aside from being long-lasting, it writes smoother and is more comfortable to use. For some people, it provides a better sense of purpose and a status symbol. Here are some of the knowns expensive pens you wouldn’t think ever existed: 

  • Caran d’Ache 1010 Gold Limited Edition which cost $175,000.
  • MontBlanc Limited Edition Boheme Papillon Pen cost $230,410.
  • MontBlanc Prince Rainier III Limited Edition 81 Pen cost $260,200.
  • Caran d’Ache La Modernista Diamond Pen cost $275,000.
  • Caran d’Ache 1010 Diamonds Fountain Pen cost $1.2 million
  • Aurora Diamante Fountain Pen cost $1.47 million
  • Fulgor Nocturnus by Tibaldi cost $8 million
Top luxury pens