Global Trade Item Number GTIN

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a product identifier. These identifiers look up merchandise information within a database, often by entering the number or by scanning a barcode. The individuality and universality of the GTIN identifier are useful in determining which product in one database corresponds to another product in another database, especially across inter-organizational boundaries.

All books and magazine publications sold internationally have GTIN-13 barcodes. Book barcodes are either constructed from the old ISBN 10 digit number with 978 and then recalculating the last check digit. More recently, using a GTIN issued as a full thirteen digits starting with 978. Magazines use 977 prefix and then their ISSN number followed by a checkdigit.

Each trade item has its own GTIN. Products are priced, ordered, sold or invoiced along the supply chain using their GTIN. This dramatically improves efficiency as there is no confusion over pricing or stock.  This includes individual trade items as well as all of their different packaging configurations such as 4 packs or 6 packs of a product. No other product or product variation uses the same GTIN. Hence many retailers will only accept products with barcodes printed on them.

The term Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) defines a family of GS1 / EAN / UCC international data arrangements that employ 14 digits. Barcodes encrypt the number.

The GTIN is only a convenient term. It does not impact any existing international standards, nor does it place any additional requirements on scanning software or hardware. For North American companies, the UPC is an existing form of the GTIN. For the rest of the world, EAN8 and EAN13 barcode numbers are a form of GTIN.

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