QR codes have been around for a while now. They are being used on all sorts of print promotional materials from business cards, to billboards, to real estate “For Sale” signs. These codes allow individuals to immediately link to additional information and resources on the Internet.
Publishers have begun to incorporate QR codes into books’ covers. Many publishers are using these codes on the back cover copy to either link to the book’s video, the book’s testimonial page, or simply the book’s website. I recently reported on a comic book cover that “talked” (see “Talking Book Covers”) through the use of a QR code.
Now Publishers International has developed what they are calling “Smart Books.” These books provide a unique link between print and digital information. This publisher is embedding QR codes right into the pages of their educational books.
In these Smart Books, fact-packed pages teach kids while the embedded QR codes in the pages help to expand the learning experience by linking readers to videos, quizzes, and games. All a reader needs is a smart phone or tablet (with Internet access) with a QR code reader installed to access the digital information embedded in each book. In addition, the books can be enjoyed with or without a QR code reader.
This expanded use of QR codes is interesting, although not entirely new. Melville Publishing House announced in 2011 that they were producing “Hybrid Books” featuring QR codes embedded in the text linking readers to “extras” placed on the web (see “Hybrid Books“).
I think this hybrid or smart book strategy probably works best for children’s books, but travel books, cookbooks, and historical books could all easily incorporate QR codes in the text, linking readers to additional pictures, videos, and helpful tips.
An ebook store recently used QR codes to run a unique campaign to get mobile device owners to learn about the books they offer for sale. The ebook store, Four Directions, based in Hong Kong, printed QR codes on cookies.
The QR code took the mobile device owner to a free trial copy of an ebook. To increase consumers’ awareness, Four Directions distributed the cookies throughout popular cafes for one week and encouraged the businesses to hand out the cookies for free.
This campaign was titled “Eat What You Read.” After all, consumers could get the free ebook by scanning the QR code before eating the cookie.
The company reported that they felt the campaign was successful. After handing out 8,000 cookies for a total cost of about $5,000, the Four Directions reported that their website traffic increased by 45% and their sales rose by 12% during the week of the “Eat What You Read” campaign.
While you may not be willing to shell out $5,000 for a large QR code campaign, what “Eat What You Read” demonstrated was that QR codes can generate some measurable success when used in unique and creative ways.
It is worth considering how you might be able to run a creative QR code campaign to promote your next book on a smaller scale. The possibilities are really endless.
QR codes are quickly becoming an integral part of marketing. If you have not yet started using these little symbols in your marketing, now is the time to start.
QR codes allow individuals with smart phones to immediately connect with your message and act on what your print material is saying. No need to wait until they get to a computer. No need to type a URL into their phone. Someone simply needs to use the camera on her smart phone to instantly call you, visit your website, order a product, or even send a tweet about your products.
Watch this video to see how QR codes are changing the face of advertising and get some ideas for how you can use QR codes in your own marketing efforts.
Believe it or not, talking book covers are here. Technology has made them possible.
Using QR codes and smartphones, creative heads have developed the talking book cover. Watch this video featuring the talking cover of the comic book X-O Manowar. Then consider how you might use this same technology to make a talking cover for one of your upcoming books.
Quick Response Codes (also known as QR codes) are showing up everywhere.
These interesting “bar codes” for smart phones are called “quick response” because they are an immediate call to action for consumers.
If you are not familiar with these codes and what they do, watch this informative video.
I am seeing these codes show up in all sort of interesting places including on t-shirts and cars.
There are so many interesting and creative ways you can harness QR Codes to promote your books. If you have a unique way you are using QR codes, please share it with me. I would love to hear how you are using this new marketing tool.