It is not only about being popular or literary.....it is more about the use of language...for instance I love Maugham's style of writing, but today only very few can appreciate that kind of language with those long sentences......it would definitely drive away most of the lovers of popular fiction. However, it cannot be denied that the popular fiction of today is potentially the literary fiction of tomorrow. Ultimately, the writing styles change with the vicissitudes of time. Most modern day authors write to satiate the desires of their audiences, and not simply because of love for the subject. Economics determine to a large extent the writing styles which authors must dogmatically cater to.Secondly, few authors possess the versatility to dish out different varieties of literary experiences. The same old monotonous drag is conspicuous in the writings of these populist authors. And their loyal (read dependent and addicted) audience just laps it up.Finally, I must admit that literary tastes are ultimately subjective in themselves, and although there is an inter-subjective realm which is evaluative of the best writers, one cannot deny that an absolute objective literary masterpiece just does not exist except in the ramblings of book critics.For instance, some noble prize winners are indeed more, noble than others.So, to sum it up, I would preferably absolve myself of castigating popular fiction and extolling its literary counterparts because to differentiate them into water tight compartments will result in equivocal results.