In a move that may seem either terribly insensitive or woefully overdue, the New York Times (NYSE:NYT) will be giving comprehensive stock quotes the heave-ho. Come next month, what is currently six pages of financial tables in its namesake newspaper will be reduced to two pages of market summary information and analysis in the Tuesday through Saturday editions.

To offset the void, the publisher will be beefing up the investor resources at its site. Look close enough and you can make out the tightrope -- the really thin one that NYT needs to carefully walk here. Sending its users online for stock quotes exposes the publisher to rival sources for news that are a click away. Once smitten with the Internet's access to news as it breaks, will they go ever back to the printed page?

As Abitibi-Consolidated (NYSE:ABY) has been closing down newsprint mills, and even timeless publications like Playboy (NYSE:PLA) have been scaling back their circulation rates, reality is creeping into this tiring market.

New York Times isn't late to the party. In the fall, it launched a premium online service, a move that came just months after acquiring But the company's rivals are also getting in the game. For instance, Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) now owns the popular online magazine Slate.

If it can't stop evolution, New York Times realizes that it simply has to go along for the ride. Giving its stock tables a more condensed look while fortifying its Business Day section with editorial meat is the right thing to do. Yes, sending its readers online has its risks, but it's also where the company will be able to feast on higher-margin contextual marketing opportunities.

Between the Internet, wireless services, and CNBC all providing nearly immediate financial updates, if you were really willing to wait a day to check a stock quote, you probably didn't want it that badly.

It's a sign of things to come. It's a sign of the Times.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still enjoys reading the paper in the morning, but finds it obsolete once breakfast has been consumed. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.