Freedom of the internet
A series of distractions? Maybe. But when reading on the internet, I’m in control of my attention—so long as I can wrest it free from commercial attempts to capture it. In reading a book, I give that control over to the author. Of course, there is value, often overwhelming value, in letting an author steer my mind for a while. But, especially these days, the author has to work hard to convince me that my time is best spent by handing over the wheel, not because I’m a bigger expert than the author (I literally never am), but because I want the freedom to explore the ideas the author sparks, which often means exploring what the author’s ideas mean to me.
In that sense, the freedom of the internet has raised the bar for getting me through a book but has done so by creating an environment in which the ideas in books can set off cascades of interest that expand my world beyond the confines of any book.