Back when I was a kid, there was no internet. There was TV (I'm 28 ), and video games, and cd players, but as far as distractions like these, there wasn't anything like that.
I started reading at an early age. I remember toting around a book or two when I would go on trips. One memorable trip, where we stayed on a lake in a cabin, my mom brought a whole box full of library books; and I read half of them by the end of the trip.
I think the current atmosphere isn't conductive to kids reading. I mean, there was the Harry Potter craze, and same with Twilight, but aside from that, what recent books have been "appealing" to children? I can't think of many.
I had Gordon Korman, the Boxcar Children, The Three Investigators, Goosebumps, and many other favorites as a kid. I can't think of a single author, other than JK Rowling, who instills that same appeal in reading for kids.
Maybe we need more children's authors?