I had someone write to me the other day that they find my interest in literature rare.
It surprised me, as I live surrounded by people with literary bents, and I see numbers on a regular basis about ebooks an selfpublished books as they take off. I think interest in literature in a general way is stronger than ever, but it is less of a central culture; genre fiction is immensely popular, and indie authors tend to find more success in physically local markets.
With Oprah retired, we have no central figure telling us what to like; the New York Times bestseller list shows what people already like an buy, not what they might like in the future. This is where the proliferation of all manner of small decentralized communities comes in: if you like steampunk, you can find communities that discuss it, that can recommend and review and dissect various authors and novels in the genre.
Interest in literature has just become more specialized, more genre-based, as genres and our ability to expose ourselves to only what we want expands. It’s an interesting direction for an ever-changing industry.