This piece by Kate Wittenberg from EPIC at Clumbia U. is definitely worth reading. It's titled "Beyond Google, What's Next for Publishing" and does a fine job of discussing how online environments are affecting (and being affected by) the publishing industry.
Here's an excerpt to get you started:
"While we have been busy attending conferences, workshops, and seminars on every possible aspect of scholarly communication, information technology, digital libraries, and e-publishing, students have been quietly revolutionizing the discovery and use of information. Their behavior, undertaken without consultation or attendance at formal academic events, urgently forces those of us in scholarly publishing to confront some fundamental questions about our organizations, jobs, and assumptions about our work.
Most students today arrive at college assuming that a Google search is the first choice for doing research, that MySpace is the model for creating online content and building peer communities, and — perhaps most important — that multitasking with various electronic devices, often from remote locations, is the traditional way to do class work. The implications of those changes must transform our publishing strategies.
If "digital natives" are the next audience for our scholarly resources, shouldn't we be thinking about new ways to organize, store, and deliver our content? In fact, is content even what we should be focusing on for this next generation of users, or are the tools, functionality, and access built on top of the content what are of real value?
As publishers, we are going to have to adapt quickly and creatively if we wish to remain true to our missions as information professionals and yet be relevant to users. Are we ready?"
Well, are we? Get thee now to the Chronicle of Higher Education and read! Read!