Sunday, September 23, 2012

Exploring QR codes

You've seen them everywhere--those little squares consisting of black and white marks that appear in newspapers, magazines, on coffee cups, even on t-shirts. They are quick response codes, or QR codes that are meant for consumers to grab information and perhaps buy immediately. We are living in a world of iPhones and Androids now, meaning that we carry the equivalent of electronic Swiss Army knives. Not only can we phone or text friends, we can check calendars, take notes, play games, read news and books, and take photographs. (To be sure, that list is incomplete.)

It's that last capability, taking photos, that makes QR codes so important. If you download one of the many free QR reader such as this one from Kaywa and see a QR code, just open the reader, take a quick snapshot of the code, tap on the photo, and your phone's browser is redirected to the encoded location. Here, for example, is the first QR code I ever created. Scan it with your phone, and you'll be taken to my Amazon page where all my books are for sale.

How many consumers scan these codes? I don't know yet, but the technology is free and easy, so it's going to be fun to find out. I suspect that over time, QR codes will be a real boon to us self-publishers and do-it-yourself marketers.

Have you tried using them, either as a seller or as a consumer?


6 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I scan QR codes all the time with my iPad. I've won several iTunes gifts cards from Hot Tamales boxes that way.
My publisher said they will soon put QR codes on all promotional materials, which is cool.

Gail said...

I'm not sure. I detest phones, own no cell phone. My most elaborate electronic device is my computer. I guess I am in the Dark Ages.

Bob Sanchez said...

Why do you hate phones, Gail?

Betsy Ashton said...

At a recent book signing, the author had hard copy books and a book mark with the QR code on the back. He sold as many hard copies as he did e-books. People held up cells, pointed, clicked and bought. Another way to make it as easy as possible to buy your work. Heck, I don't care if someone wants to read my book on a fridge. Just read it, please...

Maryann Miller said...

Bob, I have not used QR codes as a consumer, but I have started using them in my marketing. For the lasts signing event I did, I made a flyer that has the QR codes to all my book on Amazon.

Gail, I'm in the dark ages with you. I do have a cheap cell phone that I buy minutes for when I am traveling, but I do not have a regular cell phone and have no plans to get one.

Marian Allen said...

I put QR codes on bookmarks, business cards, photos, and buttons. I think you're right, that a lot of people don't know about them yet, but that's changing even as we speak.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes