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Simon & Schuster book jackets to feature QR codes

This fall, in an effort to boost newsletter subscriptions, Simon & Schuster will feature QR codes on the back of every new book jacket.

Scanning the code will lead consumers to an author page on S&S’s website where they are encouraged to sign up for email alerts, watch video interviews, and find out more about the author’s other works.

Tech website Mashable Business quotes Ellie Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer at S&S:

The QR code is a way to use the distribution of our physical books as a means to build our [subscriber] database. This direct-to-consumer relationship then enables us to market future books and authors more cost-effectively.

For now, the codes will only be featured on hardcover and trade paperback books, and will be accompanied by  a URL so those without smartphones or QR code scanners can access the author’s page on the S&S website. The codes will be added to other formats later, based on their performance.

Despite the recent announcement of the idea, it has already been met with skepticism by some industry publications (including Paid Content, Mashable Business, and The Digital Reader), which say the QR code trend hasn’t fully caught on in North America, and that URLs are still the better option, as they can be accessed by all browsers.