First, Kevin, a longtime reader of this site and dedicated literary blogger in his own right, politely requested that I take advertising off The Reading Ape:
I urge you in the strongest possible terms to eliminiate advertising from your very fine blog. It's unnecessary, unless you're living paycheck to paycheck, and they distract from your content.
Second, in a comment to my post on the future of book reviewing, Tom Lutz expressed some discomfort in relying on advertising to support arts journalism:
I continue to believe that people should get paid for their intellectual labor, and I am particularly interested in paying people who aren't otherwise "economically viable" -- that is people who are saying things that won't immediately help someone sell fast food, and therefore won't immediately attract commercial funding.
I'm not sure that I can link these two comments directly, but I think they both spring from a deep distrust of advertising. Kevin (and he can correct me if I am misreading him) suggests that advertising somehow damages the experience of the content and that unless I am in uttermost need, I should forgo whatever income advertising generates.
Lutz's concern is about cause and effect; if advertising is your only means of support, then you are at the mercy of advertisers' (sometimes unsavory) desires. Actually, this is where the two comments connect: both are worried about advertising compromising content, at both the level of creation and that of consumption.
Rather than write my own response, I will let the fact that I have advertising on this site (and am more than comfortable with it) speak for me.
My questions to you:
What do you think about advertising on book blogs? What are the potential problems? Do you think the increasing amount of ads on book blogs is a positive or negative?