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Barcodes for Books

Request InformationBook labels made easy!

While most large publishers have their barcodes printed right on their book jacket or cover, small presses and authors who wish to self-publish may need ISBN labels—an area where EIM can be of assistance.

We know barcode standards and how ISBN labels must be designed. We have the right label materials and can guide you through the labeling process—we can print labels for you or provide help in choosing and setting up your own printing system.

Talk to The Label Experts to start printing your book labels now.

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booksLabels for Book Publishing

Booksellers, universities, wholesalers and distributors are required to use an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for effective traceability. The ISBN is a machine-readable identification on books, e-books, CDs, DVDs and software.

ISBN numbering has been in use since 1970 to help standardize publications worldwide. Much like UPC barcodes put on retail store products, the ISBN is a standard that establishes a unique identifier for each publication and edition of a title from a specific publisher.

Bookland EAN Barcode

The barcodes found on the back of books are called Bookland EAN or EAN-13 barcode symbols. The EAN barcode is created from the ISBN for the book. Although the EAN barcode is much like those for retail merchandise, the numbering system used to generate barcodes for books is different.

NOTE: If you are barcoding a monthly publication, you must use an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

As of January 2007, the ISBN moved from a 10 digit to a 13 digit code system. The EAN-13 barcode is divided into five parts—each part separated by a hyphen. It starts with a “978” prefix, followed by a country identifier, a publisher identifier, a title identifier and closes with a check digit that validates the number.

Example: ISBN-10 10 digits: 1234567890

Now reads as ISBN-13 / EAN: 978-1-234567-89-7

ISBN-13 Barcode

Bookland EAN Add-On Code

An added 5-digit section to the EAN code is often used to designate a price. If the price is less than $100.00, the number starts with a number “5” to designate US currency.

Here are a couple examples:

  • Price: $4.95 = 50495
  • Price: $249.95 = 24995

The 5 digits can also refer to a publisher’s internal data, but the publisher must use only numbers between 90000 and 98999.

Bookland/EAN Format

Publishing your own book? You need ISBN numbers encoded in the Bookland/EAN format.

If you are a new publisher in the US and need one or more ISBNs, you need to contact the US ISBN Agency that is responsible for assigning these numbers: R.R. Bowker. As the custodian of the ISBN Agency, R.R. Bowker offers free advice and help in setting up an ISBN system. ISBNs can be bought one at a time, but are also sold in units of 10, 100, and 1000.


Contact the US ISBN Agency here:

U.S. ISBN Agency
630 Central Avenue
New Providence, NJ 07974
Telephone: 1 (877) 310-7333
Fax: (908) 219-0188
Email: isbn-san@bowker.com

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