Will QR Codes Become the Standard for Enhancing Print Books?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

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Quick Response Codes, better known as QR codes, are becoming increasingly commonplace in books, as publishers implement them as a means to offer extra digital information related to their print books (as in today’s feature story about Melville House’s HybridBooks).

The functionality of the codes isn’t in question — they do work, provided you have the right scanning software — and who would balk at getting supplemental information for free? The question about whether to use QR codes really comes down to aesthetics and the reading experience.

The codes are unattractive blotches, but provided they are discreet enough (often they are placed inside the copyright pages or on the back of the books), my belief is that they might become a standard means — but not the only menas — of offering supplemental material. One of the concerns is, if they proliferate inside the book, that these codes become a form of digital punctuation that ultimately draws readers’ eyes away from the text itself.

What’s more, do you know anyone who actively uses QR Codes on a day to day basis? I don’t.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.