This month, 84000 is pleased to announce that we have recently added three new features to our ever-evolving online Reading Room. Complementing our translation efforts, accessibility has always been at the heart of how we aspire to preserve the vast literary heritage of the Buddha. Thanks to the generosity of an ever-increasing number of sponsors, we have been able to commission more and more translations of the sūtras; and we have been thinking a lot recently about how we can continue providing access to these translations in the most intuitive way that integrates them with technologies to help readers discover them, translators to engage with them, and practitioners to recite and study from them.
You will already know that our state-of-the-art platform features fully responsive and mobile-friendly interfaces as well as easily navigable and searchable content, but now, as you read our texts online, you will notice that every few paragraphs there is a folio number that follows a format similar to: [F.21.a]. These folio numbers have now been hyperlinked and are clickable to reveal the Tibetan source text in the footer.
Given the specificity of 84000 translated texts, notably our use of milestones down the left-hand margin, you may have noticed that the Amazon standard format does not handle our formatting very well. But we’re thrilled to announce that we have two new text formats—E-PUB and AZW3—that make it easier for our readers to access the words of the Buddha on-the-go!
E-PUB is the official open standard for e-book publishing, and is the most widely supported format for e-books, available on the greatest number of e-readers and reading apps. Electronic reading devices, or e-readers, allow you to store thousands of books on a small, book sized, device that has the feel of reading a printed book. The format allows the user to set the size and style of the type, which is the major benefit over PDF which has a fixed page format e.g. A4. These e-books are designed to be more portable and readable, and this format allows our sutra texts further compatibility with a wider range of e-readers.
And have you ever wished to be able to read the words of the Buddha on your Kindle? Well, AZW3 is a new downloadable format introduced to our Reading Room by our Tech Team, which makes our texts fully compatible on more recent versions of the Kindle so you can easily switch between the world of fiction and the world of the Buddha.
Just look at the right-hand side of the page for the format that suits your needs best: Read online; Download PDF; Download EPUB; or Download AZW3.
We know a lot of excitement goes into the commissioning of sūtra translation, but we can’t help but remind ourselves that unless they’re easy to find and easy to read, the power of translations to unlock the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings will be limited. After all, when we aspire to preserve the words of the Buddha, access is everything.
These Reading Room updates are mostly intended to help us integrate better with search engines, mobile devices, browsers, social media, eReaders, and assistive technologies, and we look forward to receiving feedback from you, readers, in helping with these continuing efforts!