A book barcode goes on the back cover of your book. Two numbers are encoded in the book barcode: the ISBN and the price. A book barcode can be cheap, or it can be free; take your pick.
Read about the ins and outs in this text from Book Design Made Simple.
Obtaining a book barcode
Barcodes are scannable codes that allow booksellers to automatically capture an ISBN (and retail price, if encoded). The Bookland EAN is the barcode used by the book industry. It’s actually two barcodes side by side. The larger barcode to the left is the encoded ISBN, and the smaller barcode to the right is the encoded price.
But first . . .
Before obtaining a book barcode, you’ll need to decide whether to encode your retail price. If you choose to encode your price, you’ll decide what the five digits will be in the five-digit price add-on. The first digit is the currency indicator. Five is the designation for U.S. dollars (USD), and six is the designation for Canadian dollars (CAD). An add-on of 51095 encodes the price $10.95 in USD. A book priced at $3.00 in USD would have the add-on 50300. Books priced at $99.99 or higher use the add-on 59999. If you choose not to encode your retail price, the add-on is 90000. This indicates there is no data encoded.
A free barcode is included on any cover template from POD printers such as CreateSpace and IngramSpark. Place the cover template on your book cover, then using your Selection Tool, drag the frame sides in to fit around the barcode (this will hide the rest of the template). Move the barcode into position, but take care not to enlarge or shrink it, as doing so may affect its scanning readability.
If you are using a book printer that doesn’t offer a free barcode, go to Create Bar Codes, where the cost is $10.
Getting related info
Don’t have an ISBN yet? Read about why and how to get one in this article about your copyright page.
Are you wondering where the book subject category comes from (“POETRY” in the above example)? Find out in our separate article about official book subject headings.
Have you decided on your book’s retail price? Now that’s a hard one. We address the topic in our blog post called How to price your book.
Need more info about book design, InDesign, and publishing? Our website, book, videos, and blog cover every aspect of how to design and publish a book, whether you’re already an experienced book designer or a complete novice. Download chapters 1 through 9 of the book by subscribing to our blog—simply fill in the form below, and click the Join Us! button.