Help - Barcode
- Why do I need a barcode?
- What are Bookland EAN Barcodes?
- Is the ISBN always printed above the barcode symbol?
- Does the barcode have to appear on the back cover?
- What is meant by Size Requirement?
- How do I apply barcodes to cloth cover books that don't have jackets?
- Can I trim the barcode symbol on the right to save space on the cover?
- What colours can I use for the barcode symbol?
Why Do I Need A barcode?
While the assignment of unique ISBN numbers to each title is often a requirement for selling your titles through major retailers such as Barnes and Noble or Borders as well as other wholesalers and distributors, these same booksellers prefer to use a machine readable or scannable version of that number in their systems and processing. The Bookland EAN symbol is the most widely used barcode format in the publishing industry as it encodes the ISBN number.
What are Bookland EAN Barcodes?
While most retail products in the US are marked with a UPC symbol, virtually every other country uses the European Article Number (EAN). To provide world wide standardization in the sale and handling of books and because the book industry produces so many products annually, a special "country" with its own EAN prefix just for books has been designated in the EAN system -- 978 for "Bookland" -- which is used in the universal barcode system. Any EAN which begins with the 978 prefix is called a Bookland EAN barcode and is used on books and book related products internationally. This 978 prefix precedes the first 9 digits of the ISBN and then a new check digit is calculated in order to form a 13-digit number which is then encoded to create the barcode symbol used on books. As part of the barcode service, our software assigns the 978 prefix and the new check digit to create the new 13-digit number.
Is the ISBN always printed above the barcode symbol?
Yes. Positioning it somewhere separately from the symbol requires a scanner operator to search for the ISBN in those situations where key-entry is necessary and valuable seconds are lost in the transaction. The file we prepare from our software will include the ISBN.
Does the barcode have to appear on the back cover?
Yes. The standard location is the bottom right-hand corner. A major motivation for the development of barcodes for books was the need to speed up transactions. A standard location is therefore necessary to save the operator's time in searching the product for the code.
What is meant by Size Requirement?
The magnification can range from 80% to 200% for a Bookland EAN code. The largest size used is typically a 100% code, although 92% is standard. At the recommended size of 92% the barcode would be 35mm x 31.75 mm
How do I apply barcodes to cloth cover books that don't have jackets?
A barcode label must be applied to the back board in the specified location. These can be produced by specialist barcode label printers, by litho from artwork, from a barcode label software package with laser, or thermal transfer output.
Can I trim the barcode symbol on the right to save space on the cover?
No. The purpose of the mark is to ensure that space is not used by any image in a colour which could interfere with the barcode scanning process. A space to the right of the symbol is required to tell the scanner that the symbol is complete. The clear area to the left is already protected by the protruding '9' prefix to the EAN.
What colours can I use for the barcode symbol?
Reds, yellows, and white are suitable background colours if there are no black, blue or green constituents. Blues and greens, provided they are not too pale, and black are good colours for the image Browns and purples, etc, need special attention however as those with a reddish hue will probably not be successful. If in doubt, seek specialist advice or run a print test. Avoid metallic inks.
How is a barcode file opened?
Please do not try to open a barcode file. barcode files are inserted, not opened. Do NOT doubleclick on the barcode to begin working with it. Open the book cover file and insert the barcode file from the tool bar as you would a picture file. The barcode file will automatically open at the correct size. Do not try to open the barcode file first and then attempt to move into the graphic design application you are using.
What are some common commands?
- Adobe Illustrator: File, Place. Locate the barcode file and select Place
- Adobe PageMaker: File, Place.
- Adobe Photoshop: File, Import
- Microsoft Publisher: Insert, Picture, From File.
- Microsoft Word: Insert, Picture, From File.
- Quark Express: Create a Picture Box, go to File, and select Get Picture.
- In Design: Click File menu and select Place. Locate the barcode file and click Open.
- Freehand: Click the File menu and select Import. Locate the barcode file and click Open.
Why does the barcode look bad?
There can be several reasons for this. If the barcode looks fuzzy on screen, please remember that most computer screens have a resolution of either 72 or 96 DPI.
What matters is how the barcode will print out.
DPI is a property of the printer and the printer's software and not the graphic design program you are using.
Not knowing how to work your graphics application properly is the biggest reason why designers and self-publishers struggle with their barcode files, and frequently have problems with barcodes looking blurry or having lines crossing through them.
Unfortunately, there's not just one reason barcodes can appear blurry or with lines crossing through them:
- In some software applications, when a barcode file is imported, the dpi is automatically changed to the screen dpi (72 dpi) instead of maintaining the original dpi of the file (ex., 300 dpi or higher). You will need to reset the dpi of the barcode file. When you import an EPS file into Photoshop, the file is changed, the DPI (PPI) is lost, the size is lost, and the image opens on a transparent background (you need to place it on a white background), among other problems.
- Other potential problems include "anti-aliasing" during the conversion of the encapsulated postscript to an image and the "jpeg" compression that will generally occur in PDF creation. These can damage your barcode and make it scan with errors when printed. Jagged steps on the numbers of the barcode are due to the lack of "anti-aliasing," a technique for using shades of gray on slants and curves to make the edges seem smoother to the eye. Do not use grayscale. Import as black and white. Importing as black and white might in fact be better for some applications.
Many applications do not provide an accurate preview of barcode graphics. Instead determine the quality of the image ONLY by the actual printout of your barcode. Never judge your barcode from the onscreen preview.