In the past few years, I made the jump from digital books back to analog, and one of the first reasons I moved was because of the price. On a lot of books you can get the paperback cheaper than the eBook, and the hardcover for just a few dollars more.

But as I started building out my library a lot of other interesting things began to happen. I feel like I can remember where I read stuff better, I can flip through the book more comfortably, I can let friends and family borrow them, and it gets my eyes off the screen. Tons of wins!

However, one downside is converting quotes into digital notes for easier retrieval. In the past what I’ve been doing is marking the spot and then grabbing my phone and manually typing it all out. It’s a very slow process and not that great. The other option is to take a photo of it, but then those aren’t searchable.

Today I came across this post on using the Day One app as a Commonplace Book or what I call a Morgue File, basically a place to dump “all the things” so you have one place to look and search in the future.

In that post, they recommended an app called Scanner Pro from Readdle that is your camera on steroids. You can take a picture, and it will then OCR the text, electronic conversion of images of text into machine-encoded text, and allow you to copy and paste into whatever app you want.

It works surprisingly well but it is clunky because of all the steps involved going between two different apps, but still way faster than manually typing it all out.

Of course, a tool like this can be useful in a lot of other scenarios as well. For instance, digital scanning receipts for taxes, documents you need to email, and more. Scanner Pro priced at $3.99 is not a bad deal and I’m certain there​ are others on the market that might be free or even less expensive.

How about you? Do you have any tips for taking better notes and quotes when reading analog books? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.