Studying and Learning the Dhamma via Ebooks verus Physical Books. How do you do it?

So there was an interesting thread that I chimed in on about how some of us are ‘reading ebooks in 2022.’

I am in a transitionary phase where I will be forced to leave my physical book library behind and be left with only my kindle to read, study, reference, look-up, learn, and work with in regard to my Dhamma studies, practice, and teaching.

As I mentioned in the thread linked above:

With my physical books, I am a highlighter (4 different colours for 4 different reasons), a tabber, a sticky-noter, a margin-writer, and I am oddly very good at quickly finding passages in books that I have read based on roughly where in the book and where on the page a particular passage was (i.e., the physical memory of where something that I read was in the book that I want to look up); this latter thing is simply not possible with ebooks as there is no, “oh that, that was about half way through the book, on the lower side of the left page!”

Being in the situation where I will no longer have access to my physical books, I would love to read how other book worms and study-geeks here on SCD&D, especially those who also do not have the benefit of physical books, effectively use their ebooks/kindles.

Please forgive me if this sounds whiny :slight_smile: It isn’t meant to be, and if it comes across that way, it’s probably because I am admittedly attached to my Dhamma books and I am also attached to the particular study practices that I have developed over the past 40 years; and I am feeling the dukkha of change, and the dukkha of grasping and clinging, as I prepare to leave my books behind and work only with my kindles.

Perhaps this tread can be of benefit to others who will be faced with making a similar transition in the future, or even for those who would like to lighten their load and consider shifting from physical study and reference books to their electronic book counterparts.

How do you use ebooks/kindles for effective Dhamma study in lieu of physical books? Did you ever have to make the transition from the physical to the electronic and have any specific suggestions on making the transition fluid, effective, and successful?


Not exactly your question, but related…


I now mostly use ebooks for all reading these days. I’ve had a couple of eye injuries over the years, and I find I experience so much less eye strain if I can set the font to a size that is comfortable for me. I originally found the change difficult, but over time it has all become quite normalized. So if your experience is like mine just allowing it to seem frustrating at first and giving yourself time to get used to it will lead to success.

One discovery I found helpful for me. For certain kinds of study, I find reading on my tablet and having reference sources open on my computer helpful. Sometimes having different sources on different screens is easier than having to move between books/sources on my tablet.

Good luck!


I highlight passages in ebooks and bookmark them, sometimes adding my own notes to the bookmarks. I can always copy and paste them into a text file as well. I no longer write in or mark up physicalbooks anymore, so switching didn’t bug me as much as it might a tactile reader.


I was in the same boat as you when I left home. These days I do all my reading on my smartphone: it’s very good at multitasking, switching between books, websites, etc.

I recommend ReadEra on Android / KyBook on iOS to read, highlight and take notes, then copy and paste your notes into a notes app (I recommend SimpleNote) for cloud syncing and searching.


Xournal or Xournal++, at allows you to write on pdfs if you have a tablet or pen, highlight, is cross platform - runs on desktop OSes only.

There is a ’ Xournal Mobile’ for Android too but it doesn’t work too well on modern Android it appears.

On iOS I use Documents by Readdle | The best iOS file manager which can highlight, annotate etc and then export all your highlights as a spreadsheet with the colours organised. It’s also a great video and audio player (better then itunes) and a file manager.
On kindle (paperwhite) I highlight and write notes and then used to export them into evernote for tags, colours and highlights. I haven’t done this in a while, since I first worked through MN.