inTouch: QR Codes Deliver Reads in an Instant
Yes, I write about the intersection of books and technology, but I can still feel reluctant about new technology. I ignored the blobby black-and-write patterned boxes that I now know are QR (quick response) codes, because I thought they were just another thing designed to sell me something. What motivated me to actually look into them, was of course, a book.
I saw an ad with a QR code that promised a free look at the first chapter of a book. A friend had to tell me that first I needed to download a QR scanner for my smartphone (I know all you tech-savvy folks just woke up one day knowing that this needed to be done, but I was unaware that you need a dedicated QR reader or a smartphone with a camera to scan these codes.)
Once I scanned the code, I did see the promised first chapter. Right on my phone I had the option to read that chapter, read about the book, and even buy the book for an e-reader. I’m not into reading full-length books on my phone (yet?) but it was cool to check out that first chapter. After I’d seen it, my phone stored the URL so I could type it into a computer later. It was kind of like a book trailer, and since then I’ve seen ads that promise to let you check out movie trailers by scanning a QR code.
QR codes have been around since the mid-90s, but they are just now gaining popularity in the United States. They have many applications and because it is not difficult to create a QR code, a lot of people are using them. One author says he put a QR code on a handout so people could get to his website right away with the goal of encouraging them to sign up for his free e-book. The Association Media & Publisher conference used QR Codes in its conference book to get feedback from attendees. Schools are using QR codes so that even if students don’t carry smartphones, they can still be aware of and know how to use the technology.
And according to University of Arizona’s Daily Wildcat, if you are bored because you have no book or want to read something different, a QR scanner can change that:
“Once-static books are reaching heretofore-unimagined levels of interactivity already. QR codes dot airports and bus benches around the country, allowing anyone with a smartphone and barcode reader to have instant access to the classics. After all, who hasn’t fantasized about reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea while 35,000 feet in the air?”
Have you started scanning or creating QR codes on a regular basis?
Check out some classic novels that have been converted into QR codes for portable reading.