QR – which stands for “quick response” – code is basically a barcode on steroids.
They are everywhere and since covid – even more prevalent in our lives for ordering things online, shopping, and places. Not every QR code is shaped like a perfect square. Sometimes they have unique patterns, colours, and logos displayed inside. You'll find them in non-digital spaces like direct mail, signage, billboards, and even TV shows where you can scan the code on the screen using your phone.
Nowadays, QR codes are used for a myriad of purposes such as:
* Advertising (connecting consumers to a brand’s website or discounts)
* Joining WiFi networks without having to enter passwords
* Providing more information about exhibits at museums.
A few companies have even added QR codes to gravestones to let people know more about the deceased!
How different is a QR code to a barcode?
They are both visual representations of data, but how the information stored within them is read sets them apart. While the barcode holds information horizontally, the QR code does so both horizontally and vertically. This enables the QR code to hold over a hundred times more information. Although most smartphones scan QR codes automatically, many won't scan barcodes so easily but we will still use bar codes to identify consumer packaged goods (CPGs) and manage their product inventory.
QR Codes and BOOKS!
Several publishers are now experimenting with the idea of including QR codes on certain pages. If readers want more information on a topic relevant to a certain page, a QR code can take them to a news article, YouTube video or other resources.
As a Writer/Self-Published Author… How can I Use a QR Code?
You can use QR codes to promote your books, your brand and yourself… I am seeing loads of creative ways that authors are using QR codes – here a few ideas….
1. Inside your books: Include a QR code that links to your website,
LinkedIn profile, or other online presence.
2. Place your logo in a QR code to drum up some brand
3. On bookmarks or other promotional items you give out at a book signing
4. Marketing materials: Include QR codes on promotional flyers, or
posters(digital or physical) that link to a landing page or video about your books.
5. Event tickets: If you are organising a book event, use QR codes as a digital ticket for
events, which can be scanned for entry.
6. Put a QR code on your KDP Author Central page
7. Use a QR code for your readers to re-order your books
8. A QR code on your website can send your readers to a review page
9. Use a QR code to send readers to a lead magnet – perhaps a niche-related freebie which they can download by joining your mailing list. If you don’t already have a mailing list, you should! It’s a great way to build up your following
QR codes, in varying forms, are now available on virtually all major platforms.
Snapchat has ‘Snapcodes’ available for all accounts
Twitter has QR codes available via your account settings
Really easy. Choose which QR code generator website you are going to use. For example
> Head to qr-code-generator.com
> Enter your URL.
> Customize your QR code's frame, shape, and colour.
> Click 'Download' and save the file to your computer.
> Add the QR code to print collateral.
How Secure are QR Codes?
Everything in life comes with a health warning and in this technological age, there are risks to everything we do, from scammers, phishing, malware attacks etc . To an extent, the safety of a QR code is outside your control. However, your device security, and thus, your personal security, remains within your control. QR codes today are known for their robustness and can be scanned even when part of it is missing or covered. However, despite the usefulness of QR codes, their nature makes them exploitable.
Scanning QR codes from untrusted sources can expose you to numerous security threats so here are a few tips to protect yourself:
1. Make sure the website the QR code links to is SSL certified and encrypted. SSL certificates signal your users that their data is safe and prevent attackers from creating fake versions of your website.
2. avoid scanning QR codes from random websites or unofficial pages on social media. But social engineering is one of the most common ways cybercriminals get victims to breach their own security without a second thought.
3. You should also consider installing an antivirus on your phone
4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on all your accounts. 2FA adds an extra layer of defence against unauthorized access to your accounts. This way, they remain secure even if a third party has your login details.
5. Turn off live location on your phone - A hacker may access this location if your device becomes compromised; say, when you scan a malicious QR code.
6. Keep your devices updated with the latest security so you can avoid potential security threats associated with scanning QR codes.