Monday, 20 January 2020

ISBN codes for Dummies

Step 1: Acquire ISBN codes. For South African residents this is a free service (thank you, NLSA!), and all you have to do is request them and assign them (there's really no need to pay anyone any money, simply look up contact details on their website and call or email until you reach someone).

It's important to note that not only does each format (paperback, hardcover, etc) need its own ISBN, but each e-book format (eg. epub, mobi, PDF) does as well!

Step 2: Generate the actual barcode using the ISBN 13 section of this free online generator. As explained here:
Before making an ISBN barcode, the user must first apply for an ISBN number. This number should be 10 or 13 digits, for example 0-9767736-6-X or 978-0-9767736-6-5. Once the ISBN number is obtained, it should be displayed above the barcode on the book. All books published after January 1, 2007 must display the number in the new 13-digit format, which is referred to as ISBN-13. Older 10 digit numbers may be converted to 13 digits with the free ISBN conversion tool.

The last digit of the ISBN number is always a MOD 11 checksum character, represented as numbers 0 through 10. When the check character is equal to 10, the Roman numeral X is used to keep the same amount of digits in the number. Therefore, the ISBN of 0-9767736-6-X is actually 0-9767736-6 with a check digit of 10. The ISBN check digit is never encoded in the barcode.
Simply remove the hyphens (dashes) and the check digit from your ISBN, paste it into the text box and hit "refresh". I recommend changing the image settings to PNG format with 300 DPI. You can also change the colors if you wish.

Step 3: You now have ISBNs and their barcodes, but for a professional look you'll want to right barcode title in the right font. That's as simple as adding ISBN 0-9767736-6-X above the barcode image. The free generator uses the Arial font, but the more traditional font is monospace.

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