Which barcode do I need?
Barcodes can be confusing at first. Hence we have put together this table to help you determine which type of barcode you need.
|Product||Which barcode do I need?|
|Alcohol||EAN or UPC|
|Art books (includes illustrated books with a title page and/or text or captions)||ISBN|
|Asset tracking||Code 39 or code 128|
|Artwork||EAN or UPC|
|Board games, jigsaws||EAN or UPC|
|Book – published (includes Braille, hardback, paperback, e-book)||ISBN|
|Book – non-published (includes colouring book, crossword, sudoku)||EAN or UPC|
|Brochures and pamphlets||ISBN|
|Calendars||EAN or UPC|
|Compact discs (CDs)||EAN or UPC
ISBN if the CD is prose or educational
|Clothing & Footwear||EAN or UPC|
|Cosmetics||EAN or UPC|
|Coupons||EAN or UPC – check with retailer you wish coupon to be used in|
|DVDs||EAN or UPC
ISBN if they are educational
|Electronics||EAN or UPC|
|Electronic newsletters / e-zines||ISSN|
|Flash cards||EAN or UPC|
|Food||EAN or UPC|
|Garden products||EAN or UPC|
|Greeting cards||EAN or UPC|
|Homewares||EAN or UPC|
|Journals and diaries||Non-published use EAN or UPC
Historical or published diaries use ISBN
|Library systems||Code 39 or code 128 barcodes|
|Medicines||EAN or UPC|
|Music (tracks or albums, not sheet music)||EAN or UPC|
|Pictures and photographs||EAN or UPC|
|Postcards||EAN or UPC|
|Posters and art prints||EAN or UPC|
|Serials (magazines, periodicals, etc.)||ISSN barcode|
|Serials (magazines, periodicals, etc.) if being sold as a one-off book||ISBN barcode|
|Sheet music||ISMN barcode|
|Software||EAN or UPC|
|Stationery items||EAN or UPC|
|Supplements & Vitamins||EAN or UPC|
|Tools||EAN or UPC|
|Toys, including stuffed animals||EAN or UPC|
EAN-13 Barcodes / International Article Number
International Article Numbers, formerly EAN (European Article Numbers) comprise 13-digits. They are used worldwide on all retail products excluding books and magazines. They are the most widely used barcodes globally with the exception of in the USA and Canada where UPC-A (Universal Product Codes) barcodes are more common. Each EAN-13 is product-specific and encoded into a barcode image. This means that when the barcode is scanned into store systems, price and inventory data related to your product is recorded. A different EAN-13 number, therefore, is required for each unique product.
12-digit UPC Barcodes are used predominantly in the USA and Canada on all retail products, with the exception of books and magazines.
ITF-14 Carton & Pallet Barcodes
ITF-14 Carton Codes are created from EAN-13 and UPC-A barcodes. They are only used in warehouses on cartons containing a specific quantity of the item that the product barcode represents. They should not be used for any products that are for sale individually at a retail level.
ISBN Book Barcodes
International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) are barcodes for both hard copy and e-books. ISBNs usually start with 978 and are distributed by ISBN agencies in each country (see HK ISBN Agency). They can also be obtained through independent publishing agencies such as bookisbn.org.uk, used for self-publishing authors. Note: Crossword, puzzle and colouring books are not published books so do not use ISBN barcodes. They use standard retail barcodes (EAN or UPC).
ISSN Magazine Barcodes
An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique 8-digit number used to identify periodical publications such as magazines and journals.
Only apply for an ISSN if your publications meet the following criteria:
• They are serials (journals, newspapers, magazines, monographic series etc.)
• They are ongoing integrating resources (websites, databases etc.)