A barcode is an image which is found in the bottom right-hand corner of a book’s back cover. It is made up of black vertical lines of varying widths with a pure white background. There are several types of barcode styles, but the one used specifically for books is referred to as an EAN barcode.
When scanned, the barcode provides information to a retailer to complete the sale of a book.
The barcode used for books is split into two separate sections. The larger section to the left encodes the 13-digit ISBN number, while the smaller section to the right encodes the retail price of the book and the currency used. The numbers which are encoded are shown at the top edge of the vertical lines.
In the image above, the numbers printed just above the retail price code are 51495. The first number (5) signifies that the currency used is U.S. Dollars. The remaining numbers show the retail price of $14.95.
We often recommend not encoding the retail price into the barcode for at least the first printing of your book. This will allow you to either raise or lower your price if you change your mind. You would then be able to add the price for later printings of your book. However, if your marketing plan includes selling your book through retailers such as Barnes and Noble, they may insist on the price being encoded.
A barcode is required when selling your book through retail stores such as Barnes and Noble, but smaller independent stores will often accept books without a barcode image. If your book has been assigned an ISBN number, we will provide a proper book barcode at no additional charge.
When placing the barcode onto the back cover, it is important not to resize the image as this will corrupt the information which is encoded. The barcode should be placed in a pure white area measuring 2” wide by 1 ⅛” high.