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Level 4 1,539 posts since
Aug 30, 2010
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Oct 23, 2012 12:41 AM

ISBN barcode generator

Hey Everyone,


I've made another one of my tools available for free. This one makes barcodes. Try it out at the link below.


I know there are bunch of other free barcode generators out there, but I made this one specifically to address some trivial problems that I found with all of them.







free CS cover template generator

free ISBN barcode generator

-- painless PDF and e-book formatting

Level 5 7,671 posts since
May 4, 2008
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3. Oct 24, 2012 10:47 PM in response to: stevoz
Re: ISBN barcode generator

Great work on the barcode generator Steve! I'm going to have start recommending this instead of the Bookland one -- it's a much simpler interface so not as confusing for newbies!





Odyssey Books -- editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

Level 0 18 posts since
Jul 16, 2011
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5. Oct 27, 2012 7:02 PM in response to: stevoz
Re: ISBN barcode generator

Just tried it, Steve, and that is a knockout generator, extremely impressive. Here's a question about the actual printing of the barcode that it produces.


Your one-unit black bars are the exact same width as the white bars, right? And the two-unit black bars are the same width as the two-unit white bars, and etc. for the three-unit and four-unit bars?


I went through the process of building my own barcode last year in Adobe Illustrator, and I made my black and white bars the same width, which seemed logical.  Then I had my first cover printed.  When it came back, I noticed that the black bars were wider than the white bars …


Ink spread.


I went back and did another version as a test, reducing the width of the black bars by about 10 percent, so instead of a one-unit black bar being 1 point wide, I made them 0.9 point wide, and the two unit bars would be 1.8 points wide instead of 2 points, the three-unit 2.7 points wide instead of 3 points, and four-unit bars 3.6 points wide instead of 4 points.


Then I printed the cover again at Createspace.  It looked much better — the black bars and the white bars seemed to be roughly the same size, judging by eye, and I attributed that to the black ink spreading out a little bit on the slick cover paper stock. 


My question is: Should a barcode be built to allow for ink spread?  Does that matter? 


Or will the barcode reader understand when it calibrates the first couple of bars, it knows how wide a black bar is supposed to be and how wide a white bar is supposed to be, and it gets it right based on that calibration, even if they are slightly different in width due to the ink spread?


In my real-world test in a bookstore with their barcode reader, my "downsized by 10 percent" barcode was read correctly.

Level 0 3 posts since
Jan 6, 2010
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8. Nov 30, 2012 10:16 PM in response to: stevoz
Re: ISBN barcode generator

I love this! An excellent barcode generator. I have but one question/suggestion. A lot of books have the price printed at the top of the barcode above the top ISBN. Like:


US $8.99 / $9.99 CAN


Is there any way to add that option? I'd love to have the price printed on the barcode than the top left corner of the back book cover.



Level 0 3 posts since
Jan 6, 2010
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10. Nov 30, 2012 10:56 PM in response to: stevoz
Re: ISBN barcode generator

Thanks for the quick response, Steve! I hope you do decide to work it into your already-excellent generator. People can always leave the field blank if they didn't want it.



Level 0 3 posts since
Nov 28, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
11. Dec 5, 2012 5:41 PM in response to: stevoz
Re: ISBN barcode generator

Great barcode generator!  Only minor question, what is the font for the characters?


I am doing my latest book cover in PowerPoint, added a text box with white background above the one I got from you, added human readable price and a category in OCR A Extended. The result looks like a lot of books I've seen where the human readable portion is a different font from the ISBN info.  Crown Publishing does it like that.  Public Affairs has the nicest barcode block I've seen.  Green outline, human readable price block is green background with white characters.


For my price, I only used US (labeled U.S. $15.00) and any sellers can do the conversion themselves.


Thanks again!


Level 0 14 posts since
Nov 28, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
13. Dec 6, 2012 11:30 AM in response to: stevoz
Re: ISBN barcode generator

Hi Steve,


Thanks so much for creating this generator. The only other ones I've found online give me a major headache.


I did have one problem with using yours, though, and I wondered if you might be able to help. (It's likely

to be user error on my part, I'm sure!)


I've designed my own cover according to CS's specs and they also require the barcode to be

in an area of the back cover sized exactly 2 inches wide by 1.2 inches high.


I input the info at your generator with my 13 digit Bowker-purchased ISBN for my book,

also entered my desired price, and then when I tried to take the image that was

generated and paste it into a 2 x 1.2 inch box as required by CS, the image is slightly

too big.


Now I noticed you have image "scaling" available as an option when you generate a barcode;

however, when trying to scale it to 90% and even 80% the image comes out slightly too SMALL

for the 2 x 1.2" area required by CS.


Am I wrong that CS needs the barcode to be exactly that 2 x 1.2 " size? Is there some wiggle

room, so your image would be fine without scaling?


Or is there an ideal scaling dimension that I haven't found yet to get the barcode to

conform to that 2 x 1.2" size?


Or is there something even simpler that I'm not seeing about how to do this?


Thanks in advance for your help! I'm nervous about scaling the barcode image down too

far and risk either getting it rejected by CS and/or reaching a point where the barcode

isn't readable by a physical scanner anymore (I don't know how these things work;

do scanners at stores need the barcode on a book to conform to a standard size,

thus the CS requirement of 2 inch x 1/2 inch?)

Level 0 14 posts since
Nov 28, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
14. Dec 6, 2012 12:39 PM in response to: LipstickMystic
Re: ISBN barcode generator

Sorry, one more related question: if I leave off the price part of the barcode to conform to the CS size requirements,

does this mean that when I go to local bookstores and have them sell the book for me (there are a few already

interested in doing this) that they won't be able to scan the price? What are the real world ramifications of this?
Will I be able to sell my book in physical stores? I can print a price on the back cover in regular text, but

I wondered if they need the price to scan through the barcode for this to really work in a real, brick and mortar,

sales environment.

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