Encyclopaedia Britannica announced that this year would be the last year of their printed encyclopedias. I have to admit when I heard the news I felt a wave of nostalgia, and a bit of sadness as well. Growing up in a rural area the encyclopedias were an eye to a then less accessible world, and a means to continue ones education outside the classroom.
Apparently the folks at Britannica are very comfortable with the transition, and are fully vested in their digital future. I'm not sure when Britannica started their digital initiatives, but Wikipedia certainly has carved out a strong position as the most popular reference destination.
So what does it mean? Companies need to ask themselves the question: where is our current business model in its life-cycle? What will replace our current product/model? When do we need to pull the trigger? These are certainly heady questions not answered by one source, or at any one time. But those companies who are listening to their consumers everyday, versus every now and then, certainly will have a grasp of what working, what is frustrating, and what consumers are talking about in general. This may very well be the foundation for your new product or business model.