What Type of Barcode Do I Need?

Barcodes Explained (Part 2)

It is a very common question I receive every day. If you live in the United States or Canada and your product is not a book or a magazine, then you need what is called a UPC-A barcode, also known as UPC codes or UPC's. All of them refer to the same 12-digit barcode you see on nearly 100% of all products you'll find in a store. (UPC, by the way, stands for Universal Product Code.)

Whether you are selling toasters, CD's, clothing, newspapers, auto accessories, pharmaceuticals, food, alcohol, or anything else you can think of, you need to put the standard 12-digit UPC-A barcode on your product. The great news is that once you have a UPC barcode on your product, you can sell your product in any store around the world.

Only books and magazines require something other than a UPC code since they use an entirely different type of coding system altogether. Books, for example, require an ISBN barcode, which is only issued by the Library of Congress. Their website is http://www.bowker.com. Magazines use an industry code called a Bipad number. These are issued at http://www.bipad.com/.

For those of you who do not live in the U.S. or Canada and want to know the answer to the question, "What type of Barcode do I need?" please see my blog: https://buyabarcode.com/blog/what-is-an-ean-barcode. Be sure to check out my future blogs to answer any other questions you may have.

Hope your day is prosperous and Happy Barcoding!


– Erik Quisling

Erik Quisling is the Founder and CEO of Buyabarcode.com. Started in 1999, Buyabarcode.com has been featured in both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and has helped more than 100,000 businesses bring their products to market with barcodes.
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