Bar Codes for Books. What, Why & How
All books use the Bookland EAN bar code because it allows for the encoding of ISBNs. Almost all book retailers and wholesalers require the Bookland EAN bar code to appear somewhere on the back cover of a book, because this is what the retailer scans at the point of sale to identify the price and information from the bookseller’s database. Like any other bar code, the computer then automatically reports the price to the cash register.
For mass-market books, which are sold in drugstores, department stores, and other non-bookstore retailers, a UPC bar code will likely be required, since these non-bookstore retailers are not properly equipped to scan the Bookland EAN symbols. (This isn’t something you need to worry about if you’re published by a self-publishing company that doesn’t sell your book in such venues.)
Most self-publishing companies provide the bar code as part of their services. You can buy a single bar code directly from Bowkers for $25.).