Envision, you are in the middle of reading your favorite book. You flip the page, and there is a quick response code (QR code) crisp and simplistic, prompting you to “scan me” with your smartphone. You scan the image. The code promptly takes you to an interactive map based on the story that also features extensive character bios, activities specific to what is currently happening in the book, and bonus content. Making the story, you were reading come alive.
Writers can employ QR code technology in beneficial ways to draw a larger audience, interest and engage readers, and entice book lovers to participate long after they have closed the book. QR codes are customizable to the author’s desire. When placed strategically, writers can have readers connect with their writing on deeper levels than ever before imagined.
What are QR codes?
If you are new to QR code technology, it was first invented in Japan in 1994. Denso Wave tasked a team led by Masahiro Hara to find a way to track automobiles and their parts during manufacturing quickly. Hara increased data storage and kept up with product versatility by compacting a one-dimensional (1D) barcode and making it two-dimensional (2D).
QR codes are a square, flat, scannable black and white image made up of one of four modes – numeric, alphanumeric, binary, and Kanji. QR codes have a “quiet zone” of white space bordering around the image to help cameras focus, so information is delivered rapidly and without failure.
QR codes have since expanded into other areas of business like writing. Before QR codes, books only had barcodes that delivered a tiny bit of information, such as the book’s price and nothing else. With the use of a QR code, an encoded image can be printed on or inside of a book and instantly read by your smartphone’s camera or with a QR code reader application installed on other devices. Attached information such as images, audio files, videos, and web addresses redirect your phone in a matter of seconds to give users a more meaningful experience than just the written word.
How are dynamic QR codes modernizing today’s authors?
Whether you are breaking into the writing field or an established writer, dynamic QR codes are inexpensive and functional for today’s writing business. Dynamic QR codes can edit, update, give current analytics and scan statistics to see where authors are drawing the most traffic. Dynamic QR codes even allow authors to establish their brand by generating codes with customizable frames, colors, shapes, images, and logos.
Authors with dynamic QR codes can update information with current social media platforms, promotional contests, recently published books, promo a book, link readers to online storefronts to purchase books, and add transparency to their books with customer reviews. The author will not have to worry about dynamic codes being obsolete in books years from now if they maintain the links attached to the encoded image.
How can authors incorporate QR codes into their writing to maximize their written content?
Statistics of 2020 proved two things: QR codes are frequently scanned, and book lovers still prefer their printed books. Authors have an interesting opportunity to unite print and eBook readers to maximize their following. Regardless of if a book is print, an eBook, or is later a printed eBook, readers of different platforms can cohesively experience a novel’s interactive QR codes produced within the story or on the jacket of a book. No reader will feel left out of the experience because smartphones are in the hands of almost everyone worldwide.
Every author’s goal is to draw in a larger audience that appreciates their work and gains followers. To gain new readers, Yashika Tangri suggests placing a video QR code on the book’s jacket that opens into a book trailer, like a movie trailer. Tangri writes, “The book trailer of ‘As Dead As It Gets’ by Katie Alender has over five million views on YouTube.” Book trailers can be influential, gain audiences, and drive sales.
Authors may have longer books that can struggle to keep a reader’s interest or have complicated subject matter. To break up the monotony of words, liven up photographs, or explain complex concepts, QR codes of videos would work best to reengage the reader and help them better understand what written words or a still photo cannot through a video.
If you are a tech-savvy author, link a QR code to your website to get readers excited about interactive maps from the story, character bios, fictional weapon schematics, and knowledge tests. The sky is truly the limit when bringing fictional stories to life with multi-media.
A professional and minimalistic way to convey a lot of information is with a QR code. QR codes can tidy up the book and still convey a synopsis of a future book, a list of other written books by the author, an author’s social profile, or boast current promotions. By not having a scannable QR code at the end of the story, authors run the risk of outdated information and readers not wanting to dig further to find your information since it is not readily available to them. Having a scannable QR code at the end of a story can keep even older novels relevant to what the author is currently working on.
To further keep readers engaged once they have closed the book, authors might also consider placing a QR code at the end of the story that links to a fandom discussion board website. Readers will keep engaged with the author’s work and see what other fellow fans’ thoughts are while also sharing their own.
QR codes since their birth have only expanded in resourcefulness and popularity around the world. With dynamic QR codes, authors can update and edit information without having to reprint or relaunch books. Besides being of value to the writer, QR codes can bridge print and eBook lovers together under the same QR codes, so each is experiencing the story in uniform ways while reading in their preferred ways. No reader will feel left out from experiencing books in superior technological ways.