From Now On, Use Only One Bar Code

May 2007
by Angela Bole

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Book Industry Study Group Approves Policy Statement on the Elimination
Of Dual Identifiers

From Now On, Use Only One Bar
Code

 

by Angela Bole

 

The bar code on your book is
your ticket to retail sales, and the prolific use of bar codes has resulted in
reduced labor costs, improved inventory control, a speedier purchasing process,
and improved customer service for bookselling and all of retail. Until
recently, however, many books had to be marked on the back cover with two
different bar codes—a Bookland EAN bar code (encoding the ISBN) and a UPC
bar code (encoding the UPC)—to meet the needs of different markets.

 

From its inception, the presence
of dual bar codes has been a source of complication in databases and of
confusion in the supply chain, leading to delays at point of sale, missing
sales information, and lost reorders.

 

To tackle this set of problems,
the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) recently created a new Policy Statement
advocating the elimination of dual bar codes on physical books and related
products. Guidance as to which identifier—ISBN or UPC—is
recommended for assignment is included in the statement. For example, it
recommends ISBN for maps and UPC for calendars.

 

Help in Choosing Which
Code to Use When

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