The barcode ‘world’ can be confusing for newcomers. Here are the most important barcodes for use in retail and business environments.
Here is a description of each type to help you decide which type of barcode you need.
Which barcode do I need?
This is the most common retail barcode. It is used on the product and is scanned at the point of sale. It is used in most countries apart from the USA and Canada. It has 13 digits. Each product, or variation of a product, has its own EAN to identify it in retailers databases.
This is another common retail barcode. It is used mainly in the USA, Canada and also by American retailers such as Amazon. It has 12 digits. Each product or variation of a product has its own UPC to identify it in retailers databases.
This is also called a ‘carton code’, ‘shipper’ or ‘tun’. It has 14 digits. It is not for use at the point of sale, so you don’t print it on the product. It is used on the wholesale box of multiple products. It tells the warehouse they are receiving a box of multiple products, i.e. they are not selling the whole box as one unit but selling the products inside individually. The ITF14 code is based on the barcode on the actual product inside.
ISBN barcodes are for books. ISBNs are 13 digits long and start at 987. To get an ISBN barcode, first, you need to have the ISBN. If you don’t yet have an ISBN, you can get one from Thorpe Bowker.
ISSN barcodes are for magazines and serial publications. ISSNs are 8 digits long and issued by the Australian National Library. When turned into a barcode, they become 13 digits or 13+2 digits if you wish to show the edition number. They start 977. To get an ISSN barcode, first, you need to have the ISSN number. If you don’t yet have an ISSN number, you can get one from the ISSN Agency at the National Library. Then come back to us for the ISSN barcode. The ISSN Agency can be contacted Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.
Australian ISSN Agency
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: (02) 6262 1213 Email: [email protected]
QR Codes (Quick Response Code) are the most popular type of 2D “matrix barcode”. They are not used for point of sale. They can encode text and are often used to encode webpage links or vbusiness cards. QR codes are read easily by smartphones & camera phones (if they have a barcode scanner app) and can be used in many different ways. It is commonly used to link people who scan the code to a particular web page, such as a company homepage, a specific product page, or a YouTube video.
Amazon barcodes are EAN or UPC barcodes. If selling only on Amazon, we recommend you get UPC format. If selling in Australian stores as well as Amazon, then get the EAN format.
Still not sure what you need? No problem. Get in touch, and we can advise.