The trouble with Shakespeare is that his stuff is out of date in relation to what is going on in the world today. You can say people don't change all you want but Shakespeare didn't have to decide whether or not to fund Stem Cell research. He wasn't worried about the global effects of Peak Oil either.
I'm not a writer, but there's only 7 basic plotline models that all fiction writing revolves around. The specific events, dialog style, style of prose, etc, change over the years. That's where 'popularity' comes into play. Popularity has nothing to do with 'greatness'. Just how many people are willing to read a particular title.
I think ereaders and ebooks will allow people to more easily read. I know I
now read far more than I did before getting my Sony. And as time goes on, I think folks will discover the reading feature for their Ipod, Droid, PDA, or whatever portable device they own. And overall, reading for pleasure will be an increasing phenomen.
Instant publishing options for all make it easier for the novice or hobby writer to 'publish' their work. This allows lots of otherwise anonomous folk to get their thoughts out...whether folks find them is up to the author's creativity in promotion. Therefore, there are lots of books of minimal quality out there to be read. (remember the 'pulp' books produced in centuries past)
But this does not necessarily diminish what is 'great writing'. In fact, the ease of self publishing may prompt would-be writers to write MORE, honing their skills. HELPING to create that next 'great writer'.
Who knows? It's all good...more writing, more reading, more literacy......