Simon & Schuster Pushes QR Codes for All Books to Drive Traffic

This fall, QR codes will begin to appear on all of Simon & Schuster’s trade paperback and hardcover books.

Right now, 26 percent of the company’s book sales are digital, according to’s Laura Hazard Owen. The company’s Chief Digital Officer Ellie Hirschhorn explaned in an e-mail to employees that the QR codes will take consumers to the author’s page on the publisher’s website.

The pages include a link to sign up for newsletters, links to the authors’ other books and videos.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported last summer that only 5 percent of Americans scanned a QR code. Mashable’s Lauren Indvick points out, “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.'”

Videos may not be enough for the consumer, however.

Cynthia Boris of Marketing Pilgrim says that the plan is more beneficial to Simon & Schuster than to the customer, which is why it might not fare well.

“Now, if they were to use QR codes to lead me to additional content, like a download of a free story or a chance to win a bunch of free books, but it doesn’t appear that way,” she says. “Once again, it’s a big company using a little box in order to drive traffic to their website for their gain, not yours.”