What device are you using to read Chinese books? Tablet , E-reader or Paperback?


I am curious if there are any who enjoy reading as a way to study Chinese? For me, I use Pleco for it's dictionairy and do flashcards daily. I do this on my phone (Android). However, I do own an ereader (Boox Leaf) and used it to read a lot of English books. Now I want to study Chinese more in order to read Chinese books, hopefully oneday at a native level.

The look-up dictionaires on my ereader are not too great. I suppose they work at the same speed as using the look-up English dictionaires. I do have the Pleco app on my ereader and I barely use it. When I am reading in English, I rarely have to look up a word though.

I feel using an Ipad/Android tablet would be better to read books in Chinese with the Pleco app. If I read on a tablet and used Pleco to read, I could easily use the pop-up dictionairy and create flashcards instantly from my daily reading.

For reading ebooks in English, my ereader is great. I can read for several hours on it straight with no eye-strain. But I rarely have to lookup words in English. For reading Chinese, as I am not a native Chinese speaker, I find that experience clunky and not as enjoyable. It is not a pop-up dictionary experience either.

I wonder if anyone here actively reads in Chinese and just what device and app you use to do your reading? Are you using an Ipad/Android Tablet? Is reading paperbooks in Chinese the best way? Currently I have paper Textbooks and paper graded readers. Eventually, I would like to read non-paper books like I enjoy in English, novels and such. It doesn't seem that an e-reader is the best way when you are reading in a second language.


Hi, I have the following reading habits with Chinese texts:
  • I usually wish to take notes when I look up words I didn't know, so I do this on a desktop PC with a monitor facing me. I usually record the context and language register in which a particular word appeared, so I know later how to use it. Of course, you could also do this on a tablet with split screen mode, Pleco, and a Bluetooth keyboard.
  • If I don't take notes, I like to read on a tablet, whose larger screen is preferable to a smartphone's. Ideally, I do this in a comfortable chair.
  • If I am tired, I like to read on a smartphone, which is light enough to hold in the hand like a book while lying on one's back.
With Chinese texts, I am maybe 50% as fast as with English texts, depending on their difficulty. It's also good not to look up every uncertain word even though you could—otherwise you'll contract the "tapping disease" where you're so used to tapping Chinese words that you catch yourself tapping them on printed paper. ;)

I agree about using e-readers for English texts, their special grayscale screens are definitely the best.


Thanks for your response Shun. There is a thread on another forum where everyone is sharing how many books they are reading in Chinese. Rarely is anyone sharing what type of device they are reading on. It's their choice, they don't have to. But it would really help. Some readers use certain reading apps on their e-readers to read in Chinese also.

I had a look at some Android tablets today. I may get one in the near future. One con is that they are quite heavy. Since I've made this post, I've have learned of some features that hopefully others can benefit off of, especially if they are using an e-reader.

1) OCR Function- If it doesn't work, you can just select and copy and paste into your Pleco app's clip reader. On my device, the clip reader works perfectly.

2) FILE/EBOOK READER Function- You can upload epubs and it will work. Screen swiping will be horizontally. I used CALIBRE to convert my epub to a txt file and uploaded it to Pleco and it worked even better. With a text file, screen swipping is vertically. It looks great and you can bookmark where you leave off. This is how I plan to read in the future, by txt file.

3) CLIP READER Function- I forsee I can use this to study podcast transcripts as these are more the size of articles. "Tea Time in Chinese" is one I plan to use.

So with these three functions I don't really see myself needing to buy a tablet. The pop-up dictionairy looks great now. Now I can read on my e-reader through the Pleco app.

Reading with e-ink causes zero eye strain. I will feel eye fatigue after an hour or two looking at a phone screen. But nevertheless, I do enjoy doing flashcards on my phone. It is more "image rich". I like the colors of the characters and I feel somehow this little extra feature gets into my head. So I plan to read on my e-reader and create a flashcard deck of a few important words I learn and just let the cloud sync system gradually send them over to where I do my flashcards, on my phone. Today I also just picked up The Body Problem and read a sentence by random . I could do it and I am really only at a HSK 4 level. I didn't have to do the tapping too much either. I have a stack of textbooks and graded readers I need to get through before I can tackle content written for native speakers. Since I already enjoy reading in English, my goal is to ramp up my vocabulary and abilities this year in order to read in Chinese. That would open up another world of stories to get into. ⛽✨
Where do you buy your books? I simply want to get a copy of 活着, preferably a digital copy that I can somehow integrate into Pleco... I live in the U.S. (I want simplified Chinese.) This seems to be tricky...

I am also interested in downloading the book into Pleco (either ePub or txt)...


I'm still on textbooks and graded readers now and those are in paper form. But for reading in Chinese on an ereader I will basically do #1. And if I can't download the non-drm book, I can't utilize Pleco's popup reader.

#1) E-reader/tablet that allows 3rd party apps + Non-DRM file
#2) Tablet split screen with Kindle app open and Pleco open on the side

*Non-DRM file: do a google search for "the world's largest ebook library" to find your local access point. That's the only one I know.

*Use your local library
*Use another city/state's library
Both will allow you to basically keep the book after "borrowing" it.You may need to download ADOBE DIGITAL to offically "check-out" their books.

Use the program CALIBRE to then convert files to any type you need. I would not buy a Kindle. You can't strip the DRM even using CALIBRE and Kindle constantly changes their codes. I use a BOOX and it allows 3rd party app downloads fine.

There are Chinese bookstores whereby you subscribe and are locked into using their apps to read books. That leaves you with just Pleco's dictionairy and clip reader function. The same as being locked by Amazon Kindle. I couldn't imagine copying and pasting a book page by page. That would be so tedious.

Building vocabulary and using SRS/Flashcarding seems to be more and more crucial so that I can also freely read Chinese books.

I also added this link which may be helpful concerning the clipreader possiblities: https://plecoforums.com/threads/future-clip-reader-possibilities.6254/#post-46511



Digging through other threads I found that this particular site breaks reading Chinese content digitally very well. I've already tried WeChat's reading app + Pleco's clip reader and OCR and it worked well and quite fast. If you can establish a WeChat account then you can easily get endless books at 9 kuai a month. The book you mentioned was about 27 kuai. Pleco OCR worked well to copy the text to use the pop-up dictionary almost instantly.