We all know books cost more than they once did, but only relatively. After all, the 50-cent cost of a dictionary in 1800 was equivalent to $35 in 2022. (Sorry. That's a poor example. No one buys dictionaries anymore. We have spell cheek.)
The cost of books aside, words are just as dear today as in any earlier time. They are precious and priceless in every era. They still can cause us to weep, laugh, protest, or cheer. Or to groan when the message they convey is stupid or profane (and usually ungrammatical to boot).
Yes, the power of words and of story is undiminished and hurrah for that. Assembled with imagination, words still motivate us to do the right thing...or the wrong thing. The artful joining of alphabetic letters still can create characters of such integrity, courage or humor that they leap from the pages and into our hearts. It's awesome. Truly. Awesome.
New stories are not in short supply either. Close to 4 million books (fiction and nonfiction) are published annually. These include traditionally published, self-published, hardback and paperback print editions, ebooks and audiobooks. Here is a link to some hard numbers... https://www.tonerbuzz.com/blog/how-many-books-are-published-each-year/
So, readers, keep reading and know that you will never run out of new material. Never. If you are an author, keep writing with the pleasant assurance that someone out there will read what you have written. Why? Because good stories always are wanted. Some are needed.