I work in the corporate world, and recently I've begun to see emails fly around about QR codes. Here's a sample of what a QR code looks like:
It's a new type of bar code that can be read by a Smart Phone. The idea is that when a customer is in a store, and he/she come across a product with a QR code, the customer can whip out his/her Smart Phone and scan the barcode. Your Smart Phone will then take you to a pre-determined web location where you can get additional information about the product.
For example, I work in the wine industry. When a customer scans the QR codes on our labels, they will be taken to a website with additional tasting notes on the wine. Pretty nifty, huh?
Of course, before your Smart Phone can scan the QR code, you need the QR Reader app, which you can gets at iTunes.
I think these QR codes offer a lot of potential to writers and publishers. I intend to use one when I publish my next book. I'm not yet sure what I will link to, but I'm kicking a few ideas around. Perhaps I will link it to a YouTube video of me giving a library or school presentation. Or maybe I will link it to a YouTube video of an interview of me or a family member who inspired my story. Or maybe to a site with "fun facts" about the story that may not be apparent in the story itself--anecdotes about the story's origin, etc.
If you're into e-books, it will be a simple matter of hyper-linking to the same website a customer finds when scanning the QR Code. Whatever you create as a landing page for QR codes can be used for both tree-books and e-books.
For a free QR code, check out this site. It's called Kaywa.You can get your QR code for free, plus link it to the webpage. Kaywa will even email you a JPEG image of the QR Code, which you can use on your book cover.
I think this is all fascinating stuff and wanted to share it. I'd love to know what folks out there think is this.