Acquiring a barcode for your publication
You’ve written a book or you’ve compiled a magazine or newspaper. It’s been printed to your satisfaction and the next step is to get your publication onto the shelves of both physical and online stores. And in order for your publication to be sold, you’re going to require a barcode number.
It’s as if you could hear tyres screeching to a halt.
Writers, editors and producers are so clued up on the trade, and publishing is a facet of the industry that we’ve all come to know and understand. Irritatingly enough, somewhere along the line, no one mentioned barcodes. For your pleasure and enlightenment, take a look at the barcodes you’ll be needing for your publication as well as some tips on how to get them.
If you need a barcode for your book…You will then require an ISBN barcode – this stands for International Standard Book Number; and so no matter what retail store in the world you intend on selling your book, this barcode is both required and accepted.
ISBN barcodes are required for all once-off publications such as books, novels or even e-books. And do keep this crucial fact in mind when purchasing your ISBN barcode number from barcode resellers and companies: every variation or edition of your book will need its own barcode number. In other words, J.K Rolling would have needed seven ISBN barcodes to get her Harry Potter book series into retail.
So, how do you go about obtaining an ISBN barcode?
First and foremost, source a reputable barcode company or barcode reseller. These organisations are invaluable contacts in the long run with regards to getting your book onto shelves. Retail shelves.
Usually, with bigger companies, you’ll be required to pay annual registration fees for your barcode number. Whereas with smaller barcode resellers, the payment is most likely a once-off cost – the catch here is that not all barcode resellers are trustworthy, and so finding a reputable business is essential.
It’s mandatory that a few pieces of information need to be submitted before these companies can send you your barcodes. Be sure to send through these things:
- The title of your publication
- The name, address and contact details of the publisher
Once your book has gone to print, you are obligated (by law, might we add) to send through 5 free copies to the National Library's 'Areas of Legal Deposit' of your country. This step will ensure that your publication and its ISBN number is permanently assigned to the global ISBN database.
If you need a barcode for your magazine or newspaper…You will then need an ISSN barcode – this stands for International Standard Serial Number; and so no matter what retail store in the world you intend on selling your magazine or newspaper, this barcode is both required and accepted.
ISSN barcodes are required for all types of recurring publications and they’re most often used for magazines and newspapers. The same rule applies when purchasing your ISSN number from barcode companies and resellers: each issue, variation or edition of your serial publication will need its own unique barcode number.
Often times however, depending on your intended retailers, a new barcode number won’t be required for every issue of a magazine or newspaper. And when a unique ISSN number for each issue is require, it is a simple process for barcode companies to assist you with implementing.
It’s up to you to do your homework and find out what your retailers expect.
So, how do you go about obtaining an ISSN barcode?
As with the ISBN barcodes, your first step is to source a reputable barcode company or barcode reseller.
Just to reiterate: with bigger companies, you’ll be required to pay annual registration fees for your barcode number. Whereas with smaller barcode resellers, the payment is most likely a once-off cost – the catch here is that not all barcode resellers are trustworthy, and so finding a reputable business is essential.
With ISSN numbers, you are also required to submit a few files to the barcode company of your choice before they can send you your barcode numbers. It is probable that they will ask you to submit copies of the following items:
- The cover page
- The editorial/title page
These files need to be sent in whatever form the barcode organisation requests – usually PDFs or Jpegs are accepted. The good news is this: these submissions don’t have to be the final versions of your cover and editorial page (phew!). Although final versions are required to be sent through post-print.
Hopefully this post was helpful to the authors and writers who were confused with the process of barcodes. It’s usually an unpleasant surprise that pops up once all the work is put into your publication, as it’s such a small detail in the greater scheme of things. Thankfully, we at Entrepreneur Info are aware that although it’s a minor aspect, it’s one of significance.
Sound off in the comments about how you got your ISBN or ISSN barcodes for your publications!