What type of barcode do I need for my book?

You have finally finished the book you were writing & it just about to be go to the printers… suddenly you find out that you need a barcode! You don’t even know where to begin. For a lot of people, a barcode is the very last thing on their mind when they are writing or publishing their book. With a deadline looming, it can be a very stressful thing to leave getting a barcode for your book to the last minute.

The good news that getting a barcode for your book is an easy and (usually) fairly quick process… at least, if you already have your ISBN number. Books require an ISBN number (an International Standard Book Number). ISBNs are worldwide 12 or 13-digit identification codes assigned to books (and similar published materials). In the UK, the States & Australia you can get an ISBN number for your book from your national ISBN Agency. In New Zealand, ISBN numbers are assigned by the NZ National Library.

Once you have your ISBN number, you need to buy barcode images for your number. You can get barcode images for your ISBN number from here (if you live in the UK), here (in Australia) orĀ  here in the States (or the rest of the World). Your barcode images will be emailed to you usually within 12 hours of your order… so you won’t miss that deadline!

Your ISBN barcode should look something like this:

If you have missed the deadline for the first print-run of your book you can always get your barcode printed onto a roll of sticky labels instead. This is more time-consuming, of course, because you have to manually attach a barcode to each book that is printed. With your next print-run, however, you can include the barcode image into the artwork for your book cover before printing it (this will save you a lot of work!)

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