PaidContent reported earlier today that S&S, one of the major US publishers, has decided to muck up the back of their books with QR codes like the one below:
The idea behind this brainfart is that consumers will be able to scan the code with a QR code scanning app and be directed to a mobile site .
S&S chief digital officer Ellie Hirschhorn beleives that the codes will “make it easy for consumers to visit our site and hopefully subscribe to one of our newsletters.” Perhaps, but this ease assumes that the consumer has the requisite scanning app (as well as a camera on the smartphone/tablet).
Right now I'm sitting here, staring at the QR code, and wondering why they would print anything other than a website URL.
Of all the tablets I have, guess how many have a QR code scanner? None. Guess how many have a browser? All of them.
What's more, I'd bet the number of mobile devices without cameras probably outnumber the ones that do have a camera. So even if I did have the app I couldn't do anything with it. On the other hand, if I have a website address I can type it in to the web browser.
Fortunately, it seems that S&S did figure out the general lack of cameras and QR scanning apps, because the covers will also include a URL for the author’s website “so consumers without smartphones or QR scanners could still easily find the author’s page.”
Um, if you also plan to have the website address spelled out them why have the QR code? It's simply clutter, and the URL actually does a better job - it works on all browsers, regardless of hardware.
P.S. If someone does know a good reason for this, please tell me. I'm always willing to learn.