QR Codes in Publishing

phone scanning a QR code in news section of the newspaper

Using QR codes in publishing and media is a smart addition to printed reading materials and even online materials. Teachers love QR codes in textbooks for more creative resources when lesson planning, as students of all ages love to scan them for extra virtual experiences. Even magazines and newspapers are adding QR codes to keep readers engaged and offer quick e-commerce solutions. Moreover, readers can connect with authors on social media platforms through QR codes in novels and on articles, like they were never able to connect before. Learn how you can use QR codes for connection, educational purposes, driving traffic to e-commerce shops, and more.

Benefits of QR Codes in Publishing and Media

1. It adds something extra to print media

QR codes in print media add AR experiences and VR experiences that wouldn't have been linkable without QR codes. Adding to the learning experience with accompanying resources enhances and cements educational goals further than before.

2. It's fun and easy to design

QR codes don't have to be black and white little squares anymore. Add a customized QR code design with clear calls-to-action so readers know what extra they are getting when scanning.

3. It’s effective for measuring advertising success

QR codes with links to product pages will increase website traffic and in addition, increase sales. With Supercode's dashboard analytics it's easy to track how many scanned QR codes sent customers to your site, for a more measurable marketing campaign to reach sales goals. Any dynamic QR code automatically includes QR code tracking by city and time scanned.

4. It can boost traffic to your e-commerce store

It is easier than ever to place a QR code in magazines and newspapers to find the latest sales and promotions straight from your phone. Instead of going to stores or searching online, have a direct link to e-commerce stores for merchandise and their complements with a QR code.

M-commerce statistics from OuterBox show that on Cyber Monday, "54% of visitors came from mobile devices, while around 33% purchases on their mobile device, up over 40% from the year before."

5. It is great for connecting with readers

Today authors editors have an opportunity to have two-way communication with readers. Now they can place a social media QR code in their books and on their articles in print or online, sending readers to their social media accounts where they can share about new works, stories behind current and former work, and interact with readers more frequently.

QR code in a newspaper that scans to emailing an editor
Image source: Newsagency blog

Applications of QR Codes in Publishing and Media

1. Print a QR code for audio samples of books

These QR codes could be printed anywhere, from a window in the shop of a bookstore to expand your audience and get media attention, to the end of another book as a sample chapter for what's to come in the next novel. Even print them on coffee cup sleeves to extend your client base from outside of the bookstore.

2. Add QR codes to textbooks for audios and videos

Incorporate QR codes into textbooks to give students a more vivid experience. For language classes, use QR codes for audios and pronunciation practices. For science, print QR codes routing students to experimental videos and marine life behavioral clips, for example. Color code the QR codes in every chapter so students know what type of content they will be receiving. This is also favorable for teachers planning lessons.

3. Place QR codes in newspapers for VR experiences

For online publications, commonly there is a video accompanying the written material. For printed publications, you can do the same with a QR code. Simply print an eye-catching QR code in printed media and send readers to videos and interviews about news and other topics, from their mobile phones.

4. Start a community discussion

For newspapers and magazines in print, link a QR code to the article that leads to a discussion board on the publication's website. People love to speak out and find other like-minded individuals online and give ratings as well. Then they can interact with others who have read the article on paper and online.

5. Use QR codes for lesson planning

With more resources available today than textbooks and physical paperwork alone, there are a multitude of ways that teachers can distribute materials to students. Having a QR code on books with lesson plans, ideas, and various media is another fun and interesting way to get students engaged and ready to learn.

6. Link QR codes to games

The crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper is a wonderful tradition. As technology changes many more games have been offered by mobile phone. For those who do not read the newspaper in print, or who would like an alternative choice in games, placing a QR code in the newspaper in print or online, for an additional game option is great fun.

QR code in textbook caption
Image source: Common Craft

How to Create QR Codes for Publishing and Media

Creating QR codes with Supercode is easy and takes seconds. Here is a quick guide on how to create QR codes for media and publishing to achieve your goals.

1. Choose the right type of QR code. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • URL QR Codes - perfect for sharing website content with videos, interviews, instructional experiences, extra research, extended learning materials, promoting e-commerce, and more.
  • Social Media QR Codes - ideal for increasing the number of followers on your social media accounts to connect more deeply with your readers and increase the number of readers.
  • Plain Text QR Codes - static QR codes that never change. Fantastic for sharing a sample chapter of a book where the text never changes.
Supercode different types of QR codes

2. Create a code

Creating a code on Supercode is easy and takes seconds. Choose the type, the link or the content to include and click on save when you are ready.

create a QR code on Supercode QR code generator platform

3. Modify the design

Design the QR code to match your branding guidelines and make your code attractive for readers, teachers, and students.

modify design of a QR code on Supercode QR code generator platform

4. Add your QR code to a folder to organize your workspace

Add customizable categories for new folders in the Supercode dashboard. Or, add your new QR code to a preexisting folder, both of which you can share with your marketing and management teams.

save QR codes to different folders on Supercode platform

5. Test the code

Scan the code by directing your phone camera on it and check if all the content displayed is correct. To make changes, simply go back to the dashboard and edit the code.

bright colourful QR codes generated on Supercode platform

6. Print the code

Print on any visible, scannable surface of the book, magazine, newspaper, e-book, or e-magazine.

Supercode QR code printed on a business card

7. Track analytics

Monitor every scanned code on the Supercode dashboard for your campaign so you may collect feedback and measure the success of each QR code.

Supercode analytics dashboard with QR code scans performance

You can also generate QR codes in bulk with Supercode.

Best Practices for QR Codes in Publishing and Media

1. Customer engagement through e-commerce

Associated Media Publishing (AMP) in South Africa, are the publishers of many popular magazines geared toward female lifestyle and trends, like Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. In their October 2019 editions of 5 of their best sellers, AMP ran a campaign with QR codes on the covers to stand out to shoppers. The 'Ready to Shop' campaign incorporated bank-backed QR codes into the magazine for customer engagement with eCommerce, since QR codes are a well-recognized way to pay in South Africa.

“So, essentially, what we call ‘ready to shop’, is an extension in terms of our strategy of keeping our brands and our mediums relevant to our audience, and understanding that this is such a valuable consumer, and you have such a deep-seated trusted relationship with this consumer as a medium,” stated AMP's CEO Julia Raphaely. The goal of the campaign was to be more transaction-friendly but not a catalog.

A whatsnewinpublishing.com article reports, "The strategy has seen rapid results. Between mid-December 2019 and mid-April 2019, QR scans across AMP’s brands grew from 7,000 to 17,430, with the online side almost doubling as well."

Followed by Raphaely sharing the campaign's proven results, “Our page views in our shops grew from 47,000 to 84,441. And the products that we’ve loaded in the shop, which is our back end, which we call ‘ready to shop’ have grown from 1,500 to 3,174.”

qr code in associated media publishing magazines for ready to shop campaign
Image source: Media Update

2. Producing book trailers

Publishers have realized that books that have trailers are more enticing for the reader, especially when it has to do with children because they want to be entertained and need various content to learn surrounding the book itself. These trailers keep children engaged and excited to read the book after watching a fun trailer about it.

QR codes linked to children's book trailers
Image source: Teachers Pay Teachers

 3. Protect from piracy

According to Forbes, $300 million in publisher income is lost annually as a result of online piracy, according to data from the Authors Guild presented during Book Expo 2019.

Granted, this isn't an entirely new revelation: A 2017 Nielsen consumer survey covering ebook piracy found "$315 million in US book sales was lost annually due to piracy." - PR Newswire

Since this is such a serious issue, publisher McGraw Hill is placing a certification seal in all of their books so students and teachers know when the QR code is scanned that it is not a counterfeit. 

mcgraw hill education authentic QR code label for textbooks
Image source: Inside Higher Ed

4. Give back to the community

SBA Publishing House offered free digital children's books to promote learning and education during the quarantine to make childrens', parents', and teachers' lives a bit easier. They posted the advert on their Facebook page with QR codes to make the books accessible for everybody.

SBA publishing house free ebook offer advert with qr codes
Image source: SBA Publishing Facebook

5. Advertise the use of ebooks

Bearport Publishing uses QR codes to offer a free ebook download to an offline PDF, to promote the use of online books, and try their service. The goal of the campaign is to sign up to have access to various online ebooks at an affordable monthly rate. Not only is this option eco-friendly because of the paper and ink reduction, but it is also lighter for reading on-the-go. The QR codes are unique to each person's account and they can use the service unlimitedly.

hands holding electronic reader with qr code to try a free children's ebook
Image source: Bearport Publishing

6. Expand your reader base

Use QR codes to ask readers to follow you and to provide easy m-commerce options. Zheng Family Publishing created a cheerfully bright Facebook advert with a call-to-action to purchase the book by QR code and to follow them on social media. This will expand reader bases by getting publishing companies and materials shared by many others on social media, and grow book sales with online purchases.

facebook advert to purchase books by QR code
Image source: Zheng Family Publishing Facebook


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