We included a bunch of QR codes in our popular book, Best Android Apps; a code appeared for each app so readers could quickly find and download them from the Android Market. Before QR codes publishers had to include urls to point readers to a related website; now they can include QR code graphics and readers simply point and shoot to get to the same location. QR codes aren't just limited to urls though. You can embed a simple message, a phone number or even a text message in a code.
Why should you care about QR codes? They have the potential to dramatically enhance the user's experience with your content. Here are a few potential applications:
A cookbook that lists the ingredients and describes the preparation process but it can also include QR codes with links to videos showing how to create the dish.
A travel guide can describe a destination and include a picture or two but it can also include QR codes featuring an entire gallery of photos and videos. Better yet, why not have a QR code take you to a custom map showing where you are (using the smartphone's geolocation sensor) and all the great, must-see highlights around you?
You're learning German and you just bought a tutorial on the language. At the end of each lesson, why not have QR codes that take you to a short assessment test to make sure you learned everything you need to know?
The possibilities are endless. What I love about all this is that it takes a static print book and makes it much more dynamic. QR codes aren't limited to print books though. They're just as useful in an ebook. In both situations you're simply adding a second object to the equation, your smartphone. As such, it's important to think about the user experience; the sites your QR codes point to are most useful when they're built with the small screen in mind.
What are some of the ways you could use QR codes to enhance your content?
P.S. -- Be sure to check out the QR code at the top of this blog post -- it takes you to one of my favorite blogs. :-)