What Are and How to Use ASINs, ISBNs and UPCs/EANs?

Learn every useful bit of info about ASIN, ISBN, UPC, and EAN in our guide about these Amazon identifiers for various goods.

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Many Amazon sellers who have started their business recently have stumbled upon the abbreviations you can see in this article. ASIN, ISBN, UPC, and EAN sound complicated, but in fact, you’ve already seen them in your life. No matter what you buy on Amazon, there are identifiers that help the marketplace and sellers control the flow and distribution of the selling goods. Those are the barcodes you’ll likely find on the back cover of the packaging or products.

Global e-commerce had the need to create the system that would postpone the creation of counterfeit goods. This is how barcodes appeared, and Amazon wasn’t the first to use them. However, the marketplace decided to use all of the identifiers in one place since there are so many goods. Follow our review to know every detail about  ASINs, ISBNs, UPCs, and EANs to become a more professional seller.

What is a Barcode

Barcode is the small area on product or packaging where you can see the array of black stripes of different sizes and patterns. The technical name for the barcode is Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). Behind GTIN is the idea of the scannable symbol showing up the precise information about the product and its specifications.

Barcodes changed the way sellers distribute goods. They allowed organizing the flow of selling items in the order where the mistake of delivering something wrong wasn’t even possible. Human error wasn’t possible because the scanners detect only the product under the barcode and nothing else. GTIN is the common standard for barcodes. It means that ASINs, ISBNs, UPCs, and EANs are just part of the bigger barcode system of multiple standards for various categories of goods.

What is ASIN - Amazon Standard Identification Number?

ASIN number is the typical identifier from Amazon that is unique to the marketplace. Sellers are mostly familiar with it because it shows up on the product pages all the time.

What is ASIN is the question for many sellers who start their path on Amazon. In fact, the identifier stands for Amazon Standard Identification Numbers. They are the unique blocks of the combination of letters and numbers serving to detect specific items. Amazon ASIN can be found on every product page of Amazon.

When the item is uploaded into Amazon’s catalogue, it receives a uniquely-generated code. What is ASIN number for books? It’s called ISBN, but we’ll talk about that later in our review. To find the ASIN on the product page, you have to scroll down and look for it on the product page. It’s located near further details about the item with the information like size, number of pages (in case that’s a book), or number of discs (if it’s a CD).

With ASINs, you’re able to find every product on Amazon simply typing it into the search box. ASIN is the basic Amazon identifier, so don’t neglect knowing what that is.


What is ISBN - International Standard Book Number?

As other products on Amazon are getting their identifiers, books, magazines, e-books and all sorts of published media require separate marking for tracking. This tracking is possible with the help of an ISBN number. The idea for this abbreviation is fairly simple and serves as an identifier for the published media. ISBN meaning refers to International Standard Book Number.

ISBN is a good way for publishers to keep track of the books that they’re selling across the world. What is the ISBN role for Amazon anyway? It allows sellers to be safe from duplicates or any sort of fraud. The meaning of the digits from the barcode is the following:

As you can see, ISBN is not difficult to understand and decode. Books are the top-selling category on Amazon, so knowing the specific identifier is a great advantage for all kinds of sellers who want to start with books.


What is UPC - Universal Product Code?

How to get a UPC code for Amazon is the daunting question for the pro-sellers. However, rookie sellers should know several things about UPC. Amazon UPC code is the universal solution for identifiers. It can exist basically on every marketplace. What is the UPC code from the perspective of abbreviation? That’s the Universal Product Code - the code that appears in the barcodes to keep the track of sales by many stores.

How to get a UPC code for free? If you want to avoid any risks, it’s better to buy a UPC from the authorized reseller like GS1. Buying a replicated code would likely do more harm to your operation than good in the future. Amazon detects wrong codes with their UPC number search detection system to remove listings and even suspend the seller account.

Many people ask where is the UPC code on Amazon. It’s a rare thing to find it exactly on the product page. There is always ASIN that refers to identification of products on Amazon. UPC is a more universal thing, Amazon prefers its own standards.


What is EAN - European Article Number?

What is EAN on Amazon? That’s basically the same as UPC with one small difference though. The barcode standard is slightly different, but only because of the region specifications. Amazon EAN has been introduced to keep up with the sales in Europe. For quite a while, the products created on the territory of US and Canada were only sold there because Amazon didn’t see expansion opportunities towards other regions.

Things changed when Amazon started to deliver goods to the parts of the world like Europe. EAN number Amazon was the solution the marketplace needed to comply with the standards of the European Union. The key difference compared to UPC is in a single digit country that prefixes the main part of the barcode. The whole length is 13 digits long. International sellers should stick to EAN - this is the preferred barcode for overseas regions. Once again, the key difference is that UPC has a 12-signs barcode number, while EAN has 13 signs with a single digit country code prefixed to it

country-code prefix

How to Get a Barcode

Amazon is the barcode-driven marketplace, so you should learn where to get it without any issues. It’s because every item that goes into the fulfillment center requires a barcode to be tracked during the process of fulfillment. The products that do not have barcodes are kicked back from Amazon logistics system. You can buy the ready barcodes in third-party services like GC1 to register UPCs, for example.

For ISBNs, you have to use the ISBN barcode generator. There are dozens of barcode image generators on the web. All you have to do is enter the right data format to get them generated according to the standard for this barcode. To get your unique ASIN, you have to add the items in the product listings on Amazon. If the item you’re adding is unique, the ASIN will be assigned to it automatically.

How to Use a Barcode

To use the barcodes, you should print them out. To do that, you have to enter the Label Products page before creating a shipment. You can use thermal or laser printers for generating and printing the barcodes. Alternatively, you can print them from the Manage Inventory page.

The requirements for barcodes are the following in terms of encoded information:

Final Thoughts

Barcodes on Amazon are the problem solvers for you and the marketplace. Coding of every product that you sell might be time-consuming and repetitive. However, before the product ends up in the hands of your customers, it goes through the hands of several people. The packaging department, postal services, and last-mile carriers are involved. Without these barcodes, it would be impossible to keep tracking consistent and items delivered on time.

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