As an author, getting your book published and ready for the market can be a daunting task. One essential element of this process is obtaining a barcode for your book. Barcodes are crucial for sales and inventory tracking, and are required by most retailers, including Amazon. In this blog post, we will discuss what is required to obtain a barcode in the United States, the standards authors should be aware of, the vendors available for purchasing barcodes, and a comparison with other countries.
What is required to get a barcode in the United States?
To obtain a barcode for your book in the United States, you must first acquire an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). The ISBN is a unique identifier assigned to each book published, and it is essential for tracking sales and inventory. You can purchase an ISBN from Bowker, the official ISBN agency in the United States, through their website (www.myidentifiers.com).
What standards should authors be aware of?
There are two main barcode standards relevant to books:
Vendors for purchasing barcodes
Once you have an ISBN, you can obtain a barcode from various vendors. Some popular options include:
Does Amazon require a barcode?
Yes, Amazon requires a barcode for books listed on their platform. This is to ensure efficient sales tracking and inventory management. Authors who want to sell their books on Amazon must have an EAN-13 barcode that includes the ISBN.
Why are barcodes needed on books?
Barcodes are essential for several reasons:
Cost of obtaining a barcode
The cost of obtaining a barcode varies depending on the vendor and the type of service you choose. If you purchase a barcode with your ISBN from Bowker, the cost starts at $25 for a single barcode. GS1 US charges a one-time fee of $250 for a company prefix, plus an annual renewal fee. Online barcode generators typically offer lower prices or even free options, but ensure that you choose a reputable provider. Of course, we would recommend that you use our free barcode generator but that is entirely up to you.
How Is It Different in Other Countries?
The differences in obtaining a barcode in other countries mainly involve the agencies responsible for ISBN assignment and the costs involved. Some examples include:
To conclude, understanding Amazon's barcode requirements, the reasons behind the need for barcodes, and the process of obtaining one in different countries can help authors navigate the self-publishing landscape more efficiently. With a proper barcode in place, authors can ensure their books are easily identifiable, accessible to readers, and primed for success on all platforms including Amazon.