When we think of barcodes, we generally think of the stamp that gets scanned at the grocery store. From chips to toothpaste if it’s a product for sale it has a barcode. However, when it comes to self-publishing books, the barcode does more than make your manuscript user-friendly in a retail bookstore.

Did you know it serves as the place marker for your book’s ISBN number? An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is an identification number used by book publishers. Originally ISBNs were 10 digits in length. Then in 2007 they switched to 13.

Like any barcode, book barcodes keep track of inventory flow while allowing your book to be used by a retail POS (Point of Sale) system. They also help set you apart in the self-publishing world.

If I’m Self-Publishing, Why Does My Book Need a Barcode?

So many times, I’ve seen people spend thousands and thousands of dollars on self-publishing their book, go through all the steps, and then skip the barcode. (It’s like getting married and skipping the ring part!)

While it’s true you don’t need the barcode to have a book, why would you leave out one of the most important professional visuals that also allows your book to be sold anywhere?

Your barcode and your ISBN are your primary identifiers in the book world. Just like that wedding ring, they show you are connected to an institution (the publishing one!) and didn’t just throw your book together at whim.

It serves as a confidence builder for the potential buyer and part of the total picture that helps let them know your work is worth the investment of both time and money. Therefore, take the opportunity to have your book cover designer integrate one into the right, lower-hand side of the back cover. Barnes and Noble would insist!

In my next Pick the Publisher’s Brain session I will explain further the importance of ISBNs in self-publishing. (As well as my theory about why the ISBN digit length was adjusted in 2007!)

Conscious Shift Publishing consults, edits, formats, designs, publishes, and markets books. Whether writers wish to self- or indie-publish we inspire them through every step to promote their unique perspectives. CSP clients retain 100% of their royalties as well as 100% ownership of every digital file and image. Find out more at ConsciousShiftPublishing.com or contact publisher, Tracey Kern, at tracey@cscpubs.com to schedule a complimentary consultation. Write on!