> "When 2015 Man Booker winner Marlon James controversially stated that “we writers of colour spend way too much time pandering to the white woman,” he was more accurate than he knew: The “archetype of the white woman” setting the tone for the industry is sitting behind 84 percent of editorial desks."
inb4 Salon, we all know how far it's fallen
The cultural ubiquity that books enjoy today is essentially historically unprecedented. Sure, they had a surge in the 1950s, and relative to that time reading is in decline, but relative to almost all of human history -- where most of the population was illiterate and the literary canon was shaped by a small group of elites -- reading is massively popular today.
Consequentially, there are many more books being published today, but they're all subservient to commercial interests as well as artistic interests. the very best authors are still brilliant, and manage to minimise the creep of their commercialism. There are a lot more terrible books around than there ever has been as well.
This has devastating consequences for the canon going into the future. Previously, acceptance into the canon meant exaltation by the most educated and intelligent members of society. There are a number of anthropological factors to consider, but I fear surviving into perpetuity will merely mean writing a massively accessible crowdpleaser. Harry Potter is more likely to be read in 50 years time than Blood Meridian.