ISBN Barcodes for Books
Around the globe, books are identified with an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and the corresponding ISBN barcode. This standardized book ISBN number allows publishers to seamlessly interact with retailers, wholesalers, libraries and online marketplaces. Printed books need to have an ISBN barcode on the back cover.
Just as UPC (GTIN) assignments are managed by the GS1 Global agency, every country has an ISBN local organization that administers ISBN assignments. The U.S. ISBN Agency is run by an organization called Bowker. Publisher Services is a division of Bar Code Graphics, Inc. which specializes exclusively in the book industry. Publisher Services assists small publishers and provides ISBN and ISBN barcodes. Today, Publisher Services is now the largest authorized agent and provides the majority of ISBN barcode assignments to self-publishers. www.isbn-us.com
The Anatomy of an ISBN Barcode
The ISBN barcodes on books are comprised of a title’s ISBN and associated price. It is important to understand that every title and format requires a unique ISBN. The pricing barcode add-on displays the US price of a book. In many cases when a price is not yet determined at the time of print, a barcode add-on of “90000” is used to denote “no price in barcode”. ISBN barcodes are not required for ebooks since they are not physically scanned. All ISBN assignments and title data are uploaded to the Global Books in Print database.
Placement of the barcode should always be on the back cover (cover 4) and printed in the correct color combinations. The most efficient way a store can register a sale and consequently reorder replenishment books is IF the barcode can be scanned at the register.