Book Publisher Seeks to Link the Physical with the Digital

Book publisher Simon & Schuster has decided to begin printing books with QR codes on their back covers with the hope of building direct-to-customer relationships.

With the view to integrate the online and offline world a little more, US-based publisher Simon & Schuster have announced they will begin printing QR codes on the back of all their hardcopy books. The true gamble, however, is whether anyone will actually use them.

According to paidContent, 26 percent of Simon & Schuster’s sales are now digital, so it makes sense that they might consider moves such as this in order to more tightly integrate digital and print. Chief Digital Officer for Simon & Schuster, Ellie Hirschorn, said the codes are aimed to make it easier for customers to visit the company’s website (and hopefully subscribe to one of its newsletters).

The QR codes will link directly to the author’s mobile optimised page on where there will be links to newsletters, more books by the same author and even videos. The added benefit for the publisher is that they will be able to track the number of scans for each title as customers arrive at the mobile landing page.

The initiative is a novel use of QR codes, however this particular technology is yet to be proven a success in Australia, let alone the US. While they are popular among Japanese and Korean consumers, there is little evidence to show that Western smartphone owners really use them.

The good news is that QR codes aren’t terribly expensive to produce, so even if the idea turns out to be a dud Simon & Schuster won’t have lost much from the ordeal. On the other hand, if the scheme proves successful, it won’t be long before other publishers start jumping on board.

What do you think? Would you use a QR code on the back of a book? Have you ever used QR codes in a promotion or product?

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