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Barcoding for Game and Book Publishers

Barcodes come in a variety of forms, but the ones that you are interested in are the UPC-A (American) or the EAN-13 (International). There is an additional extension called the EAN-13 + 5 which comic books use (the +5 is for the issue number and is not handled properly by US POS software except for a few special cases... however mass market book stores normally handle them fine) UPC is a subset of EAN so if you want to have the support of the US and International (at least by the year 2005) then you should get an EAN-13 code. If you are marketing solely to the US then a UPC is fine. You first need to get a six digit identifier assigned to you for a fee of $750 by the Uniform Code Council (UCC) which is located at: http://www.uc-council.org/ Princeton Pike Corporate Center 1009 Lenox Drive, Suite 202 Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 609-620-0200 609-620-1200 You can apply online for your identifier at: https://usnet06.webec.uc-council.org/membership/ Once you have completed this step, you need to calculate your check digit at: https://usnet06.webec.uc-council.org/membership/ (Select UCC 12 if you are in the US) If you find that your packaging has size limitations (like small electronic components, etc) then you can apply to get a Version E UPC code which takes any zeros and removes them from the code. Version A - Normal UPC (10 + 1 + 1) Version B - Drugs (11+1) Version C - Compatibility (12 + 1 + 1) Version D - Variable Message (1 + 10 + 1 + x) Version E - Zero Suppression UPC (x + 1) -------------------------------------------------- EAN Coding -------------------------------------------------- If you publish books, skip to the next section... If you do International distribution then you may consider an EAN-13 or an EAN-8. If you do Japanese distribution then you may consider a JAN-8 or a JAN-13 EAN consists of 10 digits, up to three digits for the country code and a check digit The Codes for the US and Canada are 00 through 13 Three other codes are useful here... 977 - ISSN - for magazines and periodicals 978 - ISBN - for books (and games) 979 - ISMN - for music/CDs This leads to a great deal of confusion since US retailers have traditionally wanted to support the UPC-12 codes, whereas libraries forced an early adoption of EAN-13/ISBN codes upon us, further complicated by the impact of online retailers Amazon.com and the hybridization of bookstores into more general products that generally required UPC codes. In the final analysis, the UCC council is requiring the UPC 12 retailers to shape up to UPC-13 codes or EAN-13 codes by 2005 so it's a foregone conclusion that if you're catering to hobby shops, bookstores, and other retailers, you're going to be better off with a UPC-13 code for non-book merchandise rather than the UPC-12. You're also ok with an EAN-13 code I suspect (we prefer the EAN-13 to the UPC for all of our products) ------------------------------------------- Bookland EAN and ISBN ------------------------------------------- If you're just a book publisher (although you can assign Bookland EANs to merchandise too... it just gets wierd) then you should consider the Bookland or EAN/ISBN numbering. ISBN is 9 digits plus a check digit If you want an EAN code with this ISBN, then you take only the 9 digits, preface them with a "978" and then calculate an EAN check digit for the 13th slot. Once you have your 13 digit code you may decide to add the supplemental five digits. These +5 digits can represent an issue number or a price. 90000 means that the book has no suggested retail price 99991 means that the book is a complimentary copy 99990 means that the book is used 0XXXX where X is the price in Pounds (no decimal point) 5XXXX where X is the price in US Dollars 9XXXX where X is the issue number with leading zeros (first X can't be a 9) You obtain your ISBN numbers at R.R. Bowker at: http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/application.html They will assign you a prefix and then you just add your own number, re-calc the check digit and go to print. To have your barcode output to you in an EPS file for free: http://www.cgpp.com/bookland/isbn.html Make sure you test your camera ready at a real retailer, although a barcode wand can be had for $35 and plugs into the serial port of your computer.... not a bad investment if you consider the time wasted with a bad barcode. You may also consider dropping a few hundred on some professional barcoding software at: http://www.barcode.com/barfonsof.html -Jared Nielsen This article is part of an on-going compilation for the Publisher's Codex™ due for release in January 2002. If you have suggestions, comments, or critique, I'd love to hear from you via email at [email protected] © 2001 InterStrike, Inc., All Rights Reserved Publisher's Codex™ is a trademark of InterStrike, Inc.


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