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First 2D bar code on book links to

August 24, 2009

amazon-scanA new book on digital branding includes a 2D mobile bar code on its back cover that connects directly to the title’s page on Amazon’s mobile Web site.

“BrandDigital: Simple Ways Top Brands Succeed in the Digital World,” by branding expert Allen Adamson, is the first book to be sold in North America that includes an EZcode—a 2D bar code—to sell the title via the mobile device. The ScanLife technology, powered by Scanbuy Inc., uses a camera phone to link directly to the product, where an interested shopper can buy the book from their phone using their existing Amazon account information.

“Book publishers and authors can make their books interactive and increase sales by adding a 2D bar code to the back cover of the book, posters and any promotion they’re doing,” said Jonathan Bulkeley, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. “When consumers scan the code, they’re taken to the product page on for the book, where they can add it to their shopping cart and one click from there you’re done.

“You can buy the book with three clicks on your cell phone,” he said. “These codes can appear anywhere, a poster, an email, a tattoo on your forehead, but initially it will appear on the book cover.

“A lot of authors are scrambling to find out how they can get this on their books, and you’ll be seeing a lot more of these 2D bar codes going forward.”

Mr. Bulkeley knows the publishing industry well, as he headed almost a decade ago. 

Scanbuy is a global provider of mobile marketing services that use the camera phone as the link between the physical world and the digital world.

The ScanLife mobile application and Code Management Platform have been deployed and supported by mobile providers and handset manufacturers in the United States, Mexico, France, Spain and Denmark.

Media companies and marketers use the platform to create and manage measurable 2D bar code campaigns geared toward extending brand engagement onto mobile devices.

The ScanLife software is compatible with various operating systems, including Apple’s iPhone, Java, Nokia’s Symbian, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, Google’s Android and RIM’s BlackBerry.

Consumers can download ScanLife for free at on their handset’s mobile browser.

The ScanLife application from Scanbuy can convert almost any camera phone into a bar code reader, and while the application can also read traditional UPC codes, most mainstream cameras are not sophisticated enough to do so.

Millions of phones around the world today can read EZcodes like the one on Mr. Adamson’s book. 

This is a perfect example of how a 2D code placed on any physical media can send an interested shopper directly to a purchase opportunity, according to Scanbuy.

The mobile commerce experience has improved substantially over the past twelve to eighteen months, and ScanBuy expects to see more of these applications in the future being initiated through its technology.

“Clearly this is an emerging technology, and you have to get familiar with it and understand it, said Allen Adamson, author of “BrandDigital” and managing director of Landor Associates, New York, a strategic brand consulting and design firm whose clients include Citi, Procter & Gamble, FedEx and Verizon.

“This is a demonstration that 2D bar code technology is coming to this country, and anyone in marketing needs to understand what it can do and how to use it once it becomes established,” he said. “It’s a simple tool and once it becomes widespread, it will bring companies and their customers closer together, and this is the first book that’s using it.”

Scanbuy makes EZcode specs publicly available
Scanbuy is making the specifications for the EZcode 2D symbology globally available to the public.

Scanbuy is publishing the specifications for EZcode encoding and decoding to give software developers, campaign managers and code publishers worldwide the ability to use EZcodes, which have quickly become one of the dominant mobile bar code formats worldwide.

Originally developed by ETH Zurich, Scanbuy holds the exclusive rights to the EZcode technology.

It was developed specifically for use with mobile devices and is being widely deployed in Europe, North America, Latin America and some Asian markets.

Hundreds of millions of EZcodes have been published because the mobile optimized code format can be read at a smaller physical size, provides the best performance under challenging conditions and can be decoded by the most camera phones on the market today.

These factors typically make the EZcode the preferred choice for marketers, media providers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers.

Scanbuy’s mobile bar code platform also support Datamatrix, QR codes and 1D formats such as UPC and EAN.

Scanbuy has partnerships with major wireless operators including America Movil, Sprint, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Telenor and Vodafone, and with most handset manufacturers including LG and Samsung.
The ScanLife handset application has been pre-loaded on millions of phones around the world.

“2D bar codes are beginning to take off, and the potential is ginormous,” Mr. Bulkeley said. “Everybody is carrying around a personal interactive device, their mobile device, which allows you to get to what you’re looking for with one click.

“I truly believe these 2D bar codes will be everywhere, every newspaper and magazine ad and poster will have this interactive element added to it,” he said. “It will take another couple of years, but it will happen.

“We need carriers to embrace the technology and distribute the handsets with technology embedded within it—it would be nice to have 260 million enabled devices in the U.S.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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