The Society was founded in 1881 by T.W. Rhys Davids "to foster and promote the study of Pāli texts". It publishes Pāli texts in roman characters, translations in English and ancillary works including dictionaries, a concordance, books for students of Pāli and a journal. Most of the classical texts and commentaries have now been edited and many works translated into English. The Society aims to keep almost all its publications in print and to produce at least two new books and a volume of its Journal each year.
Pariyatti is currently the distributor of PTS titles in the Americas.