Which format is best for serious study?

I’m curious to know which format people think is best for a contemplative study of the suttas, ebook or hardcopy? I’ve been browsing

which seems to be of the opinion that hardcopy is required, yet they have links to buy the ebook editions of suttas? Kind of confused. Does it really matter?

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I don’t have the references handy, but there have been studies which suggest that reading comprehension is better for print texts than electronic texts. Somehow people comprehend better when interacting with a physical text than digitized media. I believe studies have also shown that people are more exact when editing a physical document than an electronic one.

It’s possible that with improved electronic editing tools (e.g., pdf documents that can be highlighted or that permit notes to be inserted) reading comprehension of digitized media has improved. And some of the better comprehension of physical text relies in part on the ability to make notes as one reads on a physical page, although many people are loathe to write in a book or other printed text. Still, I believe the consensus remains that reading a physical document leads to better comprehension than an electronic one.


I just got a Kindle paperwhite, and I am really enjoying it so far. I especially like that I can take my entire e-library with me wherever I go. I haven’t yet tried out the notes feature, but I’m planning to try it out soon. I wouldn’t write or highlight a commentary, let alone a sutta hardcopy, but I have no compunction against doing that on an ebook.

That said, the real-estate on my basic e-reader is limited, and this makes reading pdfs difficult. Books that are formatted for e-readers are much better.

I would really like to see a page (maybe a new thread?) dedicated to tips for reading Buddhist material on e-readers, such as where to get free e-books, how to convert things into the right format, etc.


This article tries to address the issue…


This page focuses on Sutta and some commentary. Also has Pali editions as well.


I have both hard copy and soft copy. I prefer soft copy better because I can carry with me any time. I hardly touch my hard copy.

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I love my paper white as well, and have some dharma books on it, including suttas. It’s a great tool, especially when I’m traveling.

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Lately I’ve been listening to the audiobook version while reading my hard copy and finding it a very rewarding, helpful experience.


I have found its helpful to avoid media delivery which push advertising, but it’s very handy to me to have easy magnifcation.
So I use an android off-brand tablet with Readera ap for texts, and a browser for SuttaCentral.net, AccessToInsight.org, and ReadingFaithfully.org (plus some other sites).
The physical device I use has a toggle-able Reading Mode which renders everything in greyscale, which decreases color distractions. It can store locally, so it’s not dependent on wifi.
Any luminous screen might contribute to eye fatigue; probably worth researching for serious long term study intentions.