QR Codes in Books

QR codes are, if not the wave of the future anymore, the wave of the present. They are everywhere, and are especially being used as a means of getting more people into retail stores to spend their money. As is usually the case, new technology capable of increasing sales for a various money making institutions is not being used effectively as a means of supporting or enhancing self-improvement.  The one industry that may be able to benefit the most from QR codes is one industry which is undergoing such monumental, historic changes that it is thought to be on the precipice of irrelevancy – the publishing industry. Why they have not yet thought to include QR codes in some of the especially popular or scholarly books is a mystery yet to be answered, which is odd, as the mystery genre might be in the best position to benefit.


With the rise of the ereader and ebooks, many people are saying that the end is near for books in general, which may be true for physical books. The truth about the industry, however, is that it is thriving, even if not in the way it used to. Best-selling books still make it to the hands of eager readers, though via download, and there are still people awaiting Stephen King’s next novel with great anticipation, but the book industry is not out of the woods. 

The fact is, the book industry needs to embrace technology not only because it makes sense to the bottom line, but because technology is finally capable of enhancing literature in responsible ways. Imagine reading a mystery where one of the clues, if you chose this version of the book, was a video of the murder. Imagine if, while reading an annotated copy of Pride and Prejudice you were able to watch a short documentary of some of the landmarks mentioned, or view pictures of the clothes the characters may have been wearing. QR codes have the ability to make entertaining reads more entertaining, and classics more fulfilling.


Non-fiction, too, can benefit from QR codes, though the results might not be as entertaining as the climactic scene of a horror book being enhanced through film. In this case, the subject of the book might be interviewed, or the reader might be able to access a short documentary on Gettysburg or the Tudors. In this way, too, non-fiction books, once thought by some to be dry and uninteresting, might be made more appealing without being cheapened, which a great boon to the publishing industry if it comes to fruition. Furthermore, as our American and world history gains an ever expanding amount of material concerning the digital revolution, technology will be able to build upon technology. Imagine a book about Apple computers being supported by QR codes read by an iPhone. 

The Future of Ebooks

by Michael Costa