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Making old media new again: Using QR codes to tie rich media to print

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

Peter Oprsal, an avid mountain biker and founder of the website bikepirate.com, has just released a new book which is intimately linked to the internet via QR codes: Bow Valley Mountain Bike Trail Guide, A Local’s Perspective.

Each of the book’s dozens of entries offer detailed descriptions mountain biking trails across Western Canada, neatly summarizing and condensing information into a must-have guide.

However, while printed materials are easy to transport and browse, they miss out on the richness of the bikepirate.com website. When bikers are on the move, quick access to frequently updated and more detailed regional maps, route photographs, and rider comments could be critical — and typing in a long, complicated, site address is a tough sell.

“I added QR codes to give my readers instant access to updated trail information, photos, and videos. It’s all right at their fingertips,” says Peter, explaining that he aims to set a new standard for guidebooks.

Bow Valley Mountain Bike Trail Guide – A local’s perspective

The inner pages, and inner workings, of Peter Oprsal's new book

You can buy the book from bikepirate.com, here.

Peter isn’t working in a vacuum. The audiobook version of Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath has a QR code which quickly brings readers to a conversation between Westerfeld and book’s voice talent. The Texas State Technical College’s publishing arm is using QR codes to link to additional content which otherwise would end up on the cutting-room floor. HarperCollins is testing QR codes on book jackets, and linking to additional author information (more here and here).

We’re excited to see this direction in the industry, and think that QR codes will be an increasingly powerful tool for marketers and content creators, as scanners (like RedLaser) become more common, and readers come to expect a more engaging and interactive reading experience.