Reading is a relatively new discipline.
It’s true that one of the early scriptures is more than 5000 years old (made in 3000 BC), but literacy became widespread only in the 20th century.
Undoubtedly, humans always loved stories. They were transferred from one generation to the other long before anyone tried to write them down.
From the campfires, around which people sat and listened to the stories of their elderly and wise, via myths, legends, epics, dramas, novelas, novels, until the IMAX and 4D experience, the story evolved just as humans did.
Few centuries ago, not everyone could read and just like in front of the campfires, people gathered around those who would read stories out loud. Those who would read silently were considered selfish because their unwillingness to share their wisdom with others.
With the invention of press came the mass book production, and reading became more affordable, but the percentage of those who could read was still insignificant.
Not until the implementation of the obligatory education had that changed and the percentage of those who could read significantly increased.
The 19th and the 20th century were definitely celebrated by reading, since the book were the common source of entertainment until the invention of the radio, television, motion pictures, and finally the internet.
Although contemporary writers often complain that instead of reading people rather spend their time watching television and browsing through social networks, the data tells us that more books than ever in history find their readers.
Charles Dickens’s novels were bestsellers even during his lifetime, but they were merely sold in 100,000 copies.
To become a bestselling author in the age of Dickens, meant to sell more than 500 copies, while Da Vinci Code was sold in more than 80 million copies, just as any Harry Potter book.