Scanning a code will send consumers to an author’s mobile page on S&S’s website. There, they are encouraged to sign up for email alerts, browse the author’s other publications and, when available, watch a video interview with the author.
It’s designed as a low-budget marketing technique, says Ellie Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer at S&S.
“The QR code is a way to use the distribution of our physical books as a means to build our [subscriber] database. This direct-to-consumer relationship then enables us to market future books and authors more cost-effectively,” she noted in a memo sent to publishers.
Although the concept is smart, is it worth the effort, especially given the sloth-like pace QR codes have been adopted in the U.S. and other western countries? About 14 million U.S. cellphone owners — about 4.5% of the country’s population — scanned a QR code last month, according to comScore. Of those scanners, the majority were male (60.5%) and between the ages of 18 and 34 (53.4%).
The truth is that few people who see a QR code know what to do with it, and even those who do aren’t likely to be thrilled by its reward to sign up for a newsletter. That being said, Hirschorn says many publishers who have provided shortcut to videos within their books have already seen “good results.”
Book jackets will also display the URL of an author’s S&S page for consumers without smartphones or QR code scanners.
For now, QR codes will only appear on hardcover and trade paperback books. Future formats will be added based on performance, Hirschhorn says.
July 03, 2012