Barcodes for Books

Request InformationLabels for Book Publishing

Labeling for the book publishing industry does not use the same sorting and tracking systems that are used in libraries. Instead―booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors are required to use an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for effective traceability.

The ISBN is a machine-readable identification on books, magazines, e-books, audio cassettes, videos and software. ISBN numbering has been in use for over 35 years 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 bar code symbols. The EAN barcode is created from the ISBN for the book. Although the EAN barcode is much like that used for general retail merchandise, the numbering system used to generate the bar code for books is different.

NOTE: If you are bar coding 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 bar code 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

Are you publishing your own book? Do you need ISBN numbers encoded in the Bookland/EAN format?

If you are a new publisher in the USA and need one or more ISBNs, you will first need to contact the US ISBN Agency that is responsible for assigning these numbers and for providing advice. R.R. Bowker, the custodian of the ISBN Agency, offers free advice and help in setting up an ISBN system. ISBNs are sold in units of 10, 100, and 1000; packages start at $275.00 and take about 3 weeks to be assigned.

The U.S. ISBN Agency
630 Central Avenue
New Providence, NJ 07974
Telephone: (877) 310-7333
Fax: (908) 665.2895

Electronic Imaging Materials, Inc. can make your book labeling easy!

While many publishers have their barcodes printed right on their book jacket or magazine cover along with the text and graphics, small scale publications or items such as CDs or DVDs may need labels and that is where EIM can be of assistance. We know the barcode standards and how ISBN labels must be designed. We have the right label materials and can guide you through the labeling process – from us printing your labels or providing help in choosing and setting up your own printing system.

Electronic Imaging Materials