Bookland 13, EAN 13 and ISBN Numbers: One in the Same

bookland 13Recently, I’ve received a lot of questions regarding how the ISBN number of a book relates to its barcode. Coincidentally, they are one in the same; the ISBN number is also known as ISBN-13, Bookland EAN, and EAN-13. Although the type of barcode is the same as others used for retailers, the numbering system used to generate the barcodes is different. The EAN for non-book products is still a 13 digit number that identifies it, but since a book already has an ISBN number to identify it, the EAN barcode for a book is then generated from the ISBN of the book.

The ISBN number is composed of a group identifier, publisher identifier, title identifier, title identifier, and check digit. When an identifier is assigned to a publisher, the ISBN agency takes into account the number of titles that the publisher thinks will be needed, thus, larger publishers are given a shorter publisher identification number in order to make more digits available for title identification.

Typical EAN-13 barcodes also include a country of origin, however, the prefixes 978 and 979 were set aside for books. In order to print an ISBN number as a Bookland EAN barcode, the prefix simply needs to be added to the beginning of the ISBN, and a check digit is added to the end.