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Old 12-06-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
johnwhelan
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Bar codes on books

I'm not sure if I should admit it here but I read both ebooks and real books and to keep track of what I have I use Calibre adding real books by using the ISBN to create a record.

It's useful as I can see more easily which authors I like and more importantly which books I already have or have rejected.

These days bar code scanners have come down in price enormously and my latest toy is a bar code scanner that plugs into the USB port and returns the ISBN code followed by a carriage return. Saves me pulling out the reading glasses or magnifying glass to read the ISBN number. On many books this works fine but some books have a UPC code rather than an ISBN code.

Is there a way to detect if its an ISBN code or UPC then get the author title stuff in from the UPC code?

Thanks John
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by johnwhelan View Post

Is there a way to detect if its an ISBN code or UPC then get the author title stuff in from the UPC code?

Thanks John
UPC are 10 digits and sometimes have the supplemental.

The first 5 digits are the publisher, the rest is the PRICE.
Big variety stores love this. They don't track titles, only price and vender (sales). (The jobber worries about the titles)

The supplemental as a subset (some part of the book number) of the ISBN.

Sometimes there are 2 bar codes. Always scan the one that stars with 978
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:44 PM   #3
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UPC are 10 digits and sometimes have the supplemental.

The first 5 digits are the publisher, the rest is the PRICE.
Big variety stores love this. They don't track titles, only price and vender (sales). (The jobber worries about the titles)

The supplemental as a subset (some part of the book number) of the ISBN.

Sometimes there are 2 bar codes. Always scan the one that stars with 978
Interesting. I never knew it was divided up like that. Of course it makes sense. Far easier to keep track of things from publisher, to warehouse, to bookstore I imagine. Banks do something similar. Their 'routing number' on checks that depositors get from them identify which bank issued them. Not which branch but the bank overall. So Bank One has a different routing # than First Federal for example. So that if I write you a check you can take it to your bank where they scan the routing number and find my account from the account # which is also on the check. Otherwise I can't imagine how hard it would be to do any banking. It makes sense that books do something similar.

Last edited by crich70; 12-06-2012 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:57 PM   #4
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Interesting. I never knew it was divided up like that. Of course it makes sense. Far easier to keep track of things from publisher, to warehouse, to bookstore I imagine. Banks do something similar. Their 'routing number' on checks that depositors get from them identify which bank issued them. Not which branch but the bank overall. So Bank One has a different routing # than First Federal for example. So that if I write you a check you can take it to your bank where they scan the routing number and find my account from the account # which is also on the check. Otherwise I can't imagine how hard it would be to do any banking. It makes sense that books do something similar.
In magazines, the supplemental is 2 digits of Issue (month)

(Can you tell I worked with POS back office configuration )
The Bar code system was pretty well thought out (they did miss in a few places). The current 6-pak of soda/beer is a problem. There is no barcode on that plastic carrier. the barcode is on the can... SO... it cause problems with 'singles' as the code on the can commonly represents 6 cans
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:52 AM   #5
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Books with a UPC should also have an ISBN barcode, quite likely inside the front cover.

I don't know of anything that would work with an external barcode scanner but I do know that the Goodreads android app can scan barcodes and is able to distinguish between UPC and ISBN codes so it should be possible.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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Always scan the one that stars with 978
So 978 introduces the ISBN number. Interesting combined with the information that the inside cover often has an ISBN bar code I think that covers things nicely.

The 978 bit started the idea in my head as I noticed that Calibre was quite happy searching for books that weren't what I recognised as an ISBN number but obviously Calibre recognised the 978 prefix.

Thanks John
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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Something like this would be a nice extension for Calibre. Using a webcam for scanning the bar code of a book will save a lot time for build up a existing library.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:14 AM   #8
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what 's the differences between them ?
UPC barcode only has the publisher (5 digits) and the price (5digits). this is for retail that does not want to maintain the PLU table for every title (eg. Walmart). Sometimes ther is a suplemental second section that may complete the ISBM, but I have not seen a retailer that uses that)

The register reads the first part and knows to decode the second part as money. (similar to the series 2 UPC, variable weight, codes used for Meat and deli)

UPC does NOT start with 97x
EAN (ISBN13) may also have a suplemental code, this is for money, but not all code it and set it to 90000
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