Recently I’ve integrated both a Linux based netbook and an iPod touch into my computing. This has prompted me to look for free e-books of classics in philosophy. There are many. Of course, many of these classics are old translations, such as Jowett’s Platonic Dialogues.
Which raises a question for researching philosophers: what should publishers of newer translations (e.g. the translations by Woodruff et al. in the Cooper Collected Dialogues of Plato) do in response?
Obviously, the short run economics of this points to *not* making their translations free. But if these works are being massively downloaded, read, and used, I think philosophers need to ask themselves if they really want the older translations (some of which are, by our lights, bad) swamping the newer ones? I mean, isn’t it more important to be read by thousands than to be paid (usually) in pennies? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a meme in the culture than have $20 bucks in my pocket. Of course this question applies to all areas of scholarship, but I’m a philosopher.