Been working on new editions of multiple formats of Bhante @Sujato’s translations. They are all derived from the epubs downloaded from SuttaCentral on 13 Nov 2019. I thought I would start posting so I could get feedback as I go along. Each format is custom made to be most suitable for that particular file type.
Reformatted EPUB. Most importantly is a hierarchical table of contents which makes it much, much easier to use.
Kindle. This is custom made so the table of contents works
PDF. A4, Letter, A5 (good for viewing on a tablet)
xHTML. Why not!
TXT in both Unicode and ASCII. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, eh? Seriously, a friend asked for these versions so they could load them into a handheld digital dictionary they had.
Well, all the thanks goes to you. I just wish I had scripting skills to help out with.
When I finish with all of the books I’ll give you a list of my suggestions for improvements. The biggest single problem I see is with the flat table of contents. It’s more or less unuseable for the AN and SN. But it appears that the site doesn’t have the headings coded as real headings, or at least that’s what’s happening by the time they become epubs.
I’m super grateful that you make the auto generated epubs available. It’s a great format to use as a foundation for building other things. I will say, though, that looking at the stats from my end, PDFs are in much much higher demand, which is not surprising.
Same formats available as the AN I posted previously. Some special features of this edition
Pali names have been added for suttas as they appear in the text
Heading pages have been added for the 15 vaggas and three top level sections
I specifically wanted to make sure the vaggas were there as they do, mostly, represent the internal structure. Many people will say that the suttas are organized by length not topic, however internally there is grouping that is at least as relevant as the SN groupings.
So, these latest reformatted versions are based on the ones automatically generated on the suttacentral.net downloads page. I seem to remember hearing that there is the intention to one day make a Pali-English version available. I had even considered manually creating ones for the DN and MN by copying each sutta into an epub file. However, SuttaCentral doesn’t really generate html pages, so the code I would need for such a project isn’t there.
Hello Bhante and Snowbird.
A huge thanks for all of the priceless work you’ve done.
I’d be grateful of some advice in relation to using the Suttas on an e-reader.
I’ve never used an e-reader before, but it appears the Kindle is the most popular choice. Would you agree that this would be the best option for using for downloading the Suttas on to?
Would I need to download from Sutta Central download section?
Is it possible to download the versions exactly as they appear in Sutta Central, with cross-referencing, older and other translations, etc?
Apologies for my ignorance in these matters, and thank you for your kind patience and understanding.
I’ve never used a Kindle before and am thinking of buying one just for the purpose of Sutta study. Was it a (relatively) simple operation downloading the Suttas on to your Kindle?
I’m totally technically inept!
This is kind of an old thread. But I’m happy to give my thoughts.
I have used a Kindle for the last 10 years and have been very happy with it. However, I’m not sure I would purchase another one simply because of my distaste for Amazon and no longer needing to purchase ebooks. There are now several other companies making e-ink ebook readers. That being said, a Kindle is probably going to be the highest quality device for the cost. But at the end of the day, they are all very similar in what they can do.
E-ink devices excel as a reading device, not so much as a study device. They are best suited for reading a book cover to cover. Personally, that is what I use my Kindle for. If I need to do more “research” oriented study, I would do that using a computer and web browser. Or printed books.
E-ink devices like Kindles use one of two formats. Either .epub or some Amazon format (like .mobi or azw3). What is special about this format is that it is re-flowable. This is in contrast to PDFs. With a PDF, the document will look exactly the same no matter what device you are reading it on. You probably have experience with this on your phone. You can zoom in and out, but the text doesn’t re-flow to fit the viewing area of your screen.
This is the key feature of true ebook formats like epub. It means that you can change the size of the font (or even the font itself) and the text will re-flow at the new size to fill the screen.
Absolutely not. Sad to say. If this is what you want, then you really need a tablet of some kind and just have to read things on SuttaCentral. The ebooks you can get from the download page are automatically generated and only contain Bhante Sujato’s English translation. Nothing else. No dictionary look up. Nothing else.
The books I have created are based on the same data, just custom fomated/designed for better usability. As well, I have created some that are line-by-line Pali and English. Those (at this time) are not available from the download area.
Adding an ebook to your device is as simple as connecting your device to your computer and moving the file to the proper directory. Assuming you have the Kindle file format for a Kindle device, or an .epub format for any other e-ink device. If you only have the .epub version, there is free software to convert it to the Kindle format (and vice versa). But ReadingFaithfully.org always has both formats.
Lots of info!!! Feel free to ask any other questions.
I have a Windows 10 PC and a Kindle Paperwhite. If you can transfer files from your computer to a USB stick, then you can do this.
First you download the books in kindle format onto the PC. This is simple because @Snowbird has very kindly produced the files in Amazons .azw3 format, so you end up with a file called something like “Dighanikaya-Sujato-Sutta-Central.azw3” in the ‘downloads’ folder of your PC.
Then you plug in your Kindle into the PC using the USB charging cable. The Kindle goes into “USB Drive Mode”. The PC opens a ‘File Explorer’ window on the PC - the Kindle appears as a drive letter on your computer, just like a USB stick.
You then just drag the file that you downloaded to the ‘documents’ folder on your Kindle.
When that is done, you ‘eject’ the Kindle from the PC in the normal way that you would with a USB stick (right click the drive letter and ‘Eject’).
The Kindle comes back into it’s normal (reading) mode, you can then hit the ‘Home’ button and the new book will be at the top of that page.
This is a great summary. Just to add that the batteries last for a long time between charges, especially if you disconnect from the internet. So it makes an ideal device for going off-line / off- grid for an extended period without lugging a bunch of books. You can highlight text and take short notes on the kindle too (you might want to check that as a feature of other e-ink readers you are considering). You can then transfer these notes back onto the computer when you come back from a trip away. They all end up in one text file.
+1 for this. All of Bhante Sujato’s translations, all of his translations + Pali, all of Bhante Bodhi’s translations, all of Ajahn Thanissaro’s translations, plus dozens of other books from the KN, take up about 5% of the memory on the Kindle I have. With the back-light off you could easily read for 30 hrs on a single charge.
Thank you so much for such an in depth, and quick response. I really appreciate it. I will look at other products, but Kindle does, unfortunately, seem to be the best value, even though at the moment I’m trying to talk my mate out of taking a job in an Amazon warehouse!
It would suit my needs for Sutta reference when I’m on the go (and with no internet), and I could use my laptop for more in depth work when I’m sat at home. For when I’m on the go, Bhante’s translations are more than adequate.
So thanks again for your response, Snowbird, and again, for all of your hard work in making the Suttas available and convenient to access in even more situations.
You can check out too, that some kindle versions (not too old ones) has voice view, which if you have bluetooth earphones connected to the kindle, you can let the kindle read the book for you! Speed can range from slower than normal to 4 times faster. I usually do 2.5.
Kindle needs to be on for the read aloud function, so you can put it in a cover and carry it around like a mp3 player. Also, the functionality to start reading is to draw a L shape.