Many people have noticed that the web has not treated all old media equally. The recording music industry is having its business model stressed by both the long tail of available music, as well as large-scale copying. Newspapers have had their ad revenue streams decimated by on-line phenomena such as craigslist.
However, books have been relatively immune to a business model challenge from the internet. Of course, some have sought to stir up hysteria among authors because a few books have been copied and made available for download on-line. Seems like a ploy to gain some allies for the RIAA and the MPAA (and after suing all the grandmothers without computers, they need all the allies they can get), but I doubt most authors will bite on that red herring. But it is doubtful any sales have been displaced. Indeed, because of online book groups, and sales outlets such as Amazon.com, it is likely that the web has had a net positive effect on book sales. Of course, all that on-line reading is displacing some reading, but it would seem that it seems it has displaced more TV viewing than book reading.
An interesting site that I think will contribute to reading books is the site librarything. It’s easy to use, and has the added benefit of connecting you to users whose reading tastes intersect yours, so you are likely to come across more books that interest you, and then to purchase them.
This is an example of Web 2.0 promoting old media, at least a particular type of old media. I don’t see any real challenge to books out there on the web, or am I wrong here? A large part of the reason books are so durable, is they are really very ergonomic, and browsable. Of course, they are also the oldest of the old media, so there has been a long time to perfect their design, through the processes of evolutionary design/knowledge.