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What Is A Barcode

A barcode is an image which contain information that can be digitally read.  The barcode image along with the ISBN/EAN data is called a UPC, but people commonly call it the barcode.

The ISBN or EAN is a 10 or 13 digit number that uniquely indentifies your product. 

All the numbers encoded in UPC and EAN barcodes are known as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN).

The barcode contains specific information that uniquely identifies the product it is assigned to.  A special scanner is used to read the information on the barcode.

ISBN:  International Standard Book Number
EAN:  European Article Number or International Article Number
UPC:  Universal Product Code

When Do You Need A Barcode

Bar codes are required to identify specific products.  Each type of product is required to have its own Bar Code. 

Bar Code allow for the item to be tracked in shipment and identified at the Point of Sale (POS).

It also enables the retailer to track which items are being sold and manage their inventory in realtime to keep their shelves stocked in order to meet demand and to identify and remove items that are not being sold.

You need Bar Code if you are producing and selling a product that will be stocked and sold in a retail store such as canned goods, cereal, toys, books, etc.  The next time you go to the store take a close look at the products.

What Does It Cost

See below.

Implementing A Barcode Solution

On the web you will find many organizations offering Bar Code issuing service.  There are two main sources for barcodes.  They are GS1 and Bowker. 


If you need a barcode for any product other than books contact GS1.  (see below).

If you are publishing books you will need an ISBN or EAN.  Bowker is your source for this.

Once you obtain your Bar Code you will need to print them for use.  You can approach this in three ways.  You can purchase Pre-printed Bar Code Labels; you can purchase the Bar Code Printer; or you can outsource production and send the Bar Code information to the outsourcing vendor for them to print it directly onto your product.

Barcode Sources









The official provider of Bar Code numbers worldwide for all products except books.


Follow the 10 steps to Barcodes implementation.


Frequently Asked Questions



A one-time fee which is based on your annual Revenues is required.  This could start at $750.


Then there is an annual maintenance fee which starts at around $150.

Bowker Identifier Service

The official provider of Bar Code numbers worldwide for books (publications).

The barcode used on books is called ISBN or EAN.  You can buy one or more than one (packages) of barcode.  No annual maintenance fee is required.

The Cost for one ISBN is $125. The cost for 10 ISBN is $250.00.  Its cheaper to buy in bulk.

The Cost for the barcode is $25.00


Buy Pre-Printed Barcode Labels

Purchasing Pre-printed Bar Code labels is relatively inexpensive and can save you time and resources to do it yourself.

Below are pre-printed barcode labels.





Dynamic Bar Code Systems Provides Preprinted Barcode labeling services.  
ID Label, Inc. Provides Preprinted Barcode labeling services.  
Par Code Symbology, Inc. Provides Preprinted Barcode labeling services.  
RVB Systems Group Provides Preprinted Barcode labeling services. Starts at $35 for 500 labels


Purchase Barcode Printers and Scanners

If you are going to utilize Bar Coding you will need Bar Code Scanners and Printers to read and print Bar Codes.  Below is a list of vendors that provide Bar Code Scanners and Printers.





Datamax Corp.

Offers a range of Bar Code printers.

Not listed

Label World USA

Offers Table Top, Industrial and Color Printers

Not listed

National Bar Code

Offer Scanners and Printers.

Printers start at $338

Scanner starts at $179

System ID

Offers a range of Printers.

Starts at $379

The Barcode Factory

Offer major brand name Bar Code products.

See product listing.

WASP Barcode Technologies

Offers a range of Barcode Products.

Starts at $99


Offers a small selection of Printers

Not listed

POS World

Offers a range of Printers.

Starts at $254


Offers a range of Printers.

Not listed


Offers a range of Printers

Starts at $89.99

Cognitive Solutions, Inc

Offers a wide range of Printers

Starts at $445


Offers all the major brand name products.

Starts at $125

ID Automation Provides Bar Code Labeling Software. WYSIWYG design feature. Starts at $139





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