Mark Morford at the San Fransisco Chronicle mulls over the decline of reading.
See, I love books. Admire and appreciate and adore. Was a lit major at Berkeley, read voraciously, still love to read, still like to consider myself a big consumer of books and deep thinker about bookish issues and ideas and authoralia.
And yet, if I'm painfully honest, I have to admit it: I barely read books anymore. Not nearly like I used to, anyway. Not for a long, long time. And chances are, if you're at all addicted to the new media vortex, neither do you.
I don't read as many books as I once did either, but cable TV, which came into my life in college, was probably the big culprit in that decline. I tended toward magazines and the reference section of the library anyway, so the Internet has actually been a boon to reading in general for me. I still subscribe to several magazines, but I certainly would have never read Mark Morford, or any of the many intelligent and creative people I regularly enjoy online, without the Internet. (An observation; the spellchecker says it should be Internet, not internet.) I think the thrill of the hunt may be part of the enjoyment; finding something interesting amid all the dreck. In that sense it's similar to a trip to the library or bookstore, except that I sit on my lazy rump.