There are barbarians at the gates, and they're reading books!This
is an interesting article because it starts with the usual arguments along the lines of things like too many books are being published, there's a lot of trash out there, reading has become chic instead of respected, and there are no more classics.
Then he tears the argument into tiny little shreds. Heck, if the argument were printed, he probably used them to wrap his fish and chips... ;-)
There's one thing in common about the people who scream about the barbarians at the gates because a lot of people are reading "The Da Vinci Code" (or for that matter, romances or science fiction or whatever gets their goat). Most of them have no concept of the past. When many numbers of people were able to read, they didn't all rush forward to read what the critics of the time thought to be the classics. Nope. For the most part, they read penny dreadfuls or "frivolous" novels. They (duh) read something fun.
Also, let's not forget that in many cases, today's esteemed classic is yesterday's "frivolous novel" that was ignored or even lambasted by critics. So we don't know which of today's literature the critics will be praising generations from now. I know, I know, it's a trite old argument trotted out everytime some critic gripes about popular fiction. But maybe it's trite because it's true, so people bring it up a lot.