Desideratum–Ebooks of Oxford Classical Texts, Borrowable from the Library

I just popped out to the library to borrow a copy of Mynor’s text of Catullus. The point is, I shouldn’t have to.

I have been reading Catullus. If (like me) you are not a Catullus specialist, there are moments you wonder, is it my Latin not being good enough to be clear about what this means, or is the text faulty?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have little space. I do own classics books but they are in storage. I rely on electronic resources, mainly. So for Catullus we have Perseus, which is wonderful to have, but the text is unidentified, and there are no apparatus. The PHI Latin disk has Goold’s text. I remember George Goold and his wife Philippa well. When he visited the UK he was a dinner guest once. Maybe some reminiscences another time. Anyway, the electronic version lacks appparatus.

On the whole publishers of classical texts have been slow to wake up to electronic publishing. Walter de Gruyter do publish ebooks. The Teubner Catullus is available as an ebook It is not cheap (US%56 to be precise). Can I borrow it from UCL library or the Joint Library in London? No (to be fair I have not asked: maybe I should!).

I look forward to Oxford University Press providing OCTs as ebooks, and at an affordable price. I can see the difficulty for publishers: piracy is so easy. As I understand the academic side of OUP’s operation is not expected to be profitable, although the press as whole is. No doubt the income from academic books is important to them, though. Be that as it may, ebooks of classical texts would be most welcome. As would be the facility to borrow them! For the peripatetic digital classicist, who travels (in my case) often only with the luggage he can carry in his pocket, travelling with a library of hard copies is not practical.

I wonder whether OUP have plans for this? And what plans libraries have for stocking ebooks? For now I have to lug around OCT in paper copy. The transmission of Catullus’s text has the virtue of brevity, so it is not too onerous. Unlike the Blackwell A Companion to Catullus (ed. M. B. Skinner). Catullus’s companion is altogether more weighty.

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