I've been hearing a lot of commentary about how we're never going to see another Michael Jackson or even a Farrah Fawcett because our culture is now so fragmented that no one person will be able to attract the following that they did. By "fragmented" I assume the commentators mean that we have far more options for entertainment than we did when Fawcett reigned supreme on one of the only three TV networks available, for instance. All of America doesn't focus its attention on just a few things these days.
I don't think that's the case with books, though.
Personally, I think this kind of fragmentation would be a good thing for the book world, particularly for readers. It's good to have options. As a reader, I like to cast a large net. But while our culture may be fragmenting in terms of providing lots of options other than reading so that, we are told, fewer people read, I don't know if we're seeing fragmenting in publishing, itself. If anything, just the opposite. The hunt for bestsellers is all about unifying attention onto just a few titles.
In the last decade in publishing we've had Harry Potter, Twilight, and The DaVinci Code. Our culture is pretty unified when it comes to reading.