According to the National Endowment for the Arts, there is a decline in reading despite the success of Harry Potter.
As The New York Times puts it in their article Harry Potter has a limited effect on reading habits:
…some researchers and educators say that the series, in the end, has not permanently tempted children to put down their Game Boys and curl up with a book instead. Some kids have found themselves daunted by the growing size of the books (“Sorcerer’s Stone” was 309 pages; “Deathly Hallows,” will be 784). Others say that Harry Potter does not have as much resonance as titles that more realistically reflect their daily lives. “The Harry Potter craze was a very positive thing for kids,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who has reviewed statistics from federal and private sources that consistently show that children read less as they age. “It got millions of kids to read a long and reasonably complex series of books. The trouble is that one Harry Potter novel every few years is not enough to reverse the decline in reading.”
David Mehegan at The Boston Globe also notes the NEA study:
“Reading scores and rates seem to be going up in the age 7-11 range,” NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said in an interview. “But when kids hit high school, all the social pressure takes them away from reading and you see an enormous fall, to a point where most kids are almost not reading at all. A quarter of all kids read for pleasure. Most of the others don’t. Because kids read less, they read less well. Because they read less well, they have lower levels of academic achievement. God bless Harry Potter, and please send us many more. But one book or series of books is not strong enough to counterbalance the trends.”
For reaction from the blogosphere, Paula Guran shares her views at the Dark Echo blog and Paul Raven has his at Velcro-City Tourist Board. Paul also notes the contradictory evidence that the Brits see no evidence in the decline of reading.