In my free how-to – ‘How to print your novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’ – I mentioned that KDP and IngramSpark both provide free barcodes. Unfortunately, not all Print-On-Demand companies do. If the company you choose to print your book says that you need to provide your own barcode, you can either buy a barcode from Bowker, or you can create your own free barcode.
In this how-to, I’ll show you exactly how to do it.
To begin, there are only TWO things you need in order to create your own, free barcode:
- an ISBN for your book
- a free online barcode generator
In Canada you can get an ISBN for free. In the US and Australia, you can buy an ISBN from a company called Bowker. The web address for the Australian company is:
If you want to know where to buy an ISBN for your own country, go to the website of the International ISBN Agency:
You should be looking at a screen like this:
Click the small down arrow [circled in red] to display a drop down list of countries. Scroll down to your country and click it. You should now see a detailed contact screen for the ISBN agency in your country. In the example shown below, I clicked on ‘United Kingdom and Ireland’:
Once you have your ISBN, you can go to the following website to use the free, barcode generator [you do not have to register first]:
On the Home page, select ‘Free ISBN-13 Bookland Barcode Generator’ as shown below:
You should now be looking at a page like this:
- From the top of the page, type in your 13 digit ISBN, including the hyphens [or cut and paste it in].
- Next, type 90000 in the Price textbox. This ensures that the scanner checks the bookshop’s own database for pricing.
- Type your email address, twice.
- Click inside the ‘Consent to email’ checkbox.
- Leave the DPI at the default .
- Now you have a choice of getting the barcode as a PDF file or as a PNG file. I find the PNG file easier to work with but the choice is yours. Either way you’ll end up with a picture of the barcode that’s been generated from your ISBN.
- Save the barcode to your computer.
- Insert the barcode into the back page of your book cover graphic [or get your cover designer to do it for you.