Bonus Content – QR Codes

Said | Mar 30 2012

QR codes are everywhere, including on audiobook packaging and book jackets. Readers can watch the book trailer while they are in the store. The audiobook for Goliath has a QR code linking to a conversation between Alan Cumming and Scott Westerfeld. Book bonuses!

QR Code Bonus Video

I think it’s fantastic. Except when it gets to the library.

Depending on how sticker happy the library system is, the QR code could be covered up with bar codes and branch identification. If an audiobook’s QR code is stuck on the plastic wrapping instead of printed the container, the code never gets a chance to be seen by patrons.

Instead of (or in addition to) codes on covers and packaging, I’ve love to see a “Bonus Content” page with QR codes linked to extras. It would feel like a gift to the reader rather than an ad. And it wouldn’t be lost to library patrons.

With a Bonus Content page:

  • Even readers who don’t follow authors online could see the book’s playlist.
  • Readers could watch the book trailer while they’re swooning at the end of the book. (And share it with their friends.)
  • They could find find the home for your fan club.
  • They could buy the sequel.


Or, with a QR code next to a certain passage in the book, readers could hear the love interest recite the poem or make a declaration of love to the main character.

There. Are. Possibilities.

Many books don’t need a whole page for extra content because the author doesn’t write and perform original music for each book. But all books have a bio which could include could include a QR code linked to the author’s website.

And authors should include a QR code on their swag. Because who would to take the time to type in when they could scan a code instead?

I love that QR codes have made their way onto book packaging. And I love that they can do more to bring the readers to us as we reach out to them.



I met and fell in love with YA while working at a library. Writing my own is like writing a creepy love letter to the YA world. I hope they like it.
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7 Responses to “Bonus Content – QR Codes”

  1. Cari,

    Thanks for the education. How cool, QR codes! I never knew. :)

  2. Brilliant. Love it. I love the idea of the bonus content.

  3. Cari Cari says:

    Thanks, guys! As a reader, I know I’m more likely to do go to a link if it’s a simple scan/click away. I think QR codes are a great way to make it easier for readers to find us online. :)

  4. I think QR codes are waaaay underutilized. I see them occasionally in ads or magazine articles, but not so much in books at this time. We should push our publishers to do this, gang. Doesn’t take ANYTHING to generate them–heck. You can get free apps for your iPhone to generate them.

  5. I’d love to be standing in a book store, scan a code and see a book trailer. That would be amazing, especially given the quality of trailers out now, and how much authors are investing in them. And yet, it seems our readers have to actively seek them out. If they were as accessible as a QR code, it could totally sway a purchase, right there in the store.

  6. I’ve seen these things in magazine and never thought of ever using them. But NOW I get it. So many possibilities! Thanks for this post, Cari–you’ve got some excellent ideas.

  7. cait says:

    am wishing all my old books had QR codes with bonus material! :)

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