Do Authors Need To Buy Their Own Barcodes For Their Books?

One question that I had to answer for myself was whether or not I should buy my own bar codes. So any author who has gone through the process of buying their own ISBNs has seen the add-ons that Bowker offers for Bar Codes.

So here is what I know:
If you are publishing your paperbacks through KDP you do not need to provide your own barcode. Amazon will do this for you. Quick, easy, no problems.
But, If you want wide distribution in retail then you need to have a barcode on your book. It is the first thing that a retail store wants to see. That way they can check in the book as inventory and check it out at the point of sale.

Here’s why having your own barcode helps in that effort. What I’ve been hearing from multiple podcasts, so I have done this as well, if that your book price should be on the bar code. This makes it easier for the bookseller to process your book through inventory. (Amazon does not do this on their barcodes) But that means you are tied to a fixed price with that barcode. If you want to change the price – you need to buy a new barcode. So if you want to raise your prices because you have more books out now and you think your audience will meet the new price point, you would need to get a new barcode. So there is a give and take with this one.

Now, the store can discount your book, if they see fit, but then they will have to do the coding on the back end.

I hope that this has helped to demystify the whole barcode situation for you.

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One thought on “Do Authors Need To Buy Their Own Barcodes For Their Books?

  1. If you are just selling books out of the trunk of your car to individuals or giving them out as gifts with no intention of ever turning it into an income stream, then you don’t need a barcode or ISBN. However, everyone else should get both.


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