This week's book giveaway is in the OCPJP forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide and have Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates on-line! See this thread for details.
I suspect that the reason serialization was taken off the SCJP exam was not that it's not used, but that it's becoming less common that you have to do it yourself. Technologies like RMI and EJB use serialization, but it's behind the scenes and they take care of a lot of the details for you.