Earlier, a book was all that was required for both learning and entertainment. But now people own smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and computers.
Personal tech has transformed the way people consume media. Many people now prefer smart devices to read. And even students now use e-books and multimedia content for learning.
But does that mean the future of printed books is bleak? Of course not.
A good chunk of people will still choose a hard copy over an e-book any day. And textbooks continue to be an important part of students’ lives.
All that authors now need to do is—tap into the obsession of readers with personal tech. A good and cost-effective way to do this is—QR Codes.
QR Codes are 2D barcodes that store alphanumeric information. They are an excellent way to make people use their smartphones and connect them from offline media to online content.
Users can scan QR Codes using a QR Code scanning application and view online content such as a website, a YouTube video, and a photo gallery.
Teachers are already using QR Codes to engage students in the classroom.
Here’s how authors can use QR Codes in books and engage readers better:
A. To engage students with textbooks
The main purpose of textbooks is to help students learn. If you make it interesting for them to learn, you can help them retain knowledge better. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Show videos rather than static images
Students often look for videos to understand the concepts better. You can help them by adding a QR Code that redirects to explainer videos wherever possible.
“There is a QR code in the text that links to a video showing how oceanographic equipment that got stuck on the sea floor in an active lava flow was later retrieved. So instead of just reading the story and seeing a static picture, students get to view a video. And hear me describe the recovery of the equipment” – Al Trujillo, Teaching Professor, Palomar College, San Marcos
Also see how QR Codes in textbooks of Kerela’s (India) students help them.
2. Provide audio translations for language books
This use case is especially to help language students. Besides adding text pronunciations, you can also add audio pronunciations.
Simply add an Audio QR Code that redirects students to listen to an audio file.
3. Add online photo galleries
You can also save printing cost by removing images of low importance. Add a QR Code instead. This QR Code can link to photo gallery of these images.
This way, authors can ensure that important images are printed. And if students want more information, they can scan the QR Code to see supplementary images.
4. Conceal solutions in QR Codes
For end-of-chapter problems, you can conceal the answers in a QR Code.
You can either link a full-length answer with solution. Or simply add the final answer in a Text QR Code.
Besides textbooks, QR Codes can help authors make other books interesting too. Here’s how:
B. To acquire new readers
Readers tend to browse aisles in bookstores for a good book. And you can help them find one in the following ways:
1. Show them a book trailer
People love seeing trailers be it for a movie or for a book. A trailer easily persuades them to look forward to the book. That’s what many authors are now doing to persuade people to buy their books.
Imagine how many people were influenced to purchase these books by seeing the trailers.
But how to show a trailer via your book? The answer is—by adding a Video QR Code on your book. As readers scan the QR Code, they’ll be redirected to watch the video on YouTube.
2. Make it easy to get book reviews
Readers get a book either after a recommendation or after reading book reviews. And most of the readers read a review online. So what you can do is—help them find the reviews.
You can add a QR Code at the end of the book that redirects readers to read reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.
3. Share your complete profile
While you want readers to buy your books, you also want them to connect with you. If they follow you, they might buy your upcoming books too.
Though you can’t add your complete profile on the book, you can add a QR Code that leads to your author profile. If you have one on Author Central or Goodreads, simply make a Website URL QR Code.
In case you don’t, you can still add a QR Code that leads to your Social Media profiles where readers can follow you.
C. To engage readers when they read
Say someone has bought your book having 500 pages. You must make these 500 pages a little more interactive as you don’t want your readers to get bored mid-way.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Add online forms and tests for self-help books
Self-help books typically have self-assessment exercises and reference charts. For example—
20 questions to check your emotional quotient
Take this test to know what type of personality you are
Instead of making readers use pen and paper, let them use their smartphones. Add a QR Code that leads them to an online form. They enter the data and immediately get scores.
No need for them to calculate scores manually. And even you get the data to refine your research (with their permission of course).
2. Get readers to tweet quotes
You write well. And sometimes you come up with epic lines.
Such words deserve to be shared. And believe me readers love to do that.
Though it’s easy to do it on an Amazon Kindle, it’s not the case with a book. So help your readers and add a Twitter QR Code to your books. They can easily scan it to share the quotes. They’ll get followers and so will you.
D. Keep readers engaged once they are done reading
As readers finish reading the book, they have questions and so much more to add. You can help them and even get more traction:
1. By connecting readers with each-other
Book lovers love to discuss books. That’s why book clubs exist.
So help them to join a conversation about your book with other readers.
Add a QR Code on the last page of your book that leads readers to a discussion forum of your choice.
The more the discussion, the better the chances of building a community of readers who like your books.
2. Get them to follow you on Social Media
Social media gives you another option to build community. Help your readers follow you on social media.
Add a QR Code that leads to all your social media profiles. And let the readers choose their favorite social media to follow you.
A lot of QR Codes can go in your books for a lot of use cases. Simply decide which ones matter the most to you.
That’s all you need to know on how authors can use QR Codes in books to engage readers.
Create a QR Code for your book
Still have queries? Feel free to ask them in the comments.