Take a few minutes to read and reflect on this article from the NY Times: Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading? There are some compelling arguments both pro and con.
I, personally, find myself reading more and more online and less in the print media. I still get a daily newspaper, but much of the information, it seems, I've already encountered online.
I also like that I can read someone's writing whether or not they're a published author or columnist.
If an article is very lengthy I prefer to hit the print button and read it the old fashioned way. Not that I particularly enjoy the tactile feel of a piece of paper, but that it's easier on my eyes, or that I can take it anywhere to read.
I think there are a number of students (and some are cited in the article) that wouldn't pick up a book, but would prefer to read online. Likewise there are some who would prefer to LISTEN rather than read. In my opinion, it doesn't matter HOW the information gets into their brain, as long as it gets there! Let's face it. Many students would prefer some type of multimedia or interaction with their information. I do too. So does anyone who watches the evening news instead of picking up a newspaper, or listens to books on CD or on their iPod.
And as one 18 year old student in the article points out, the Internet allows one to quickly find and read differing points of view about a topic, and to have a conversation with others about that topic online. It's tough to argue with that.