Barcodes for Comic Books

The Challenge of Barcoding Comics

Simply Barcodes understands the unique challenges facing those needing to barcode a comic book. With so many options available, where do you go, and who is legitimate? Customers often share with us that barcoding comics seems so complicated. Do they need a UPC and a supplemental code? What are the guidelines for the supplemental code?

  The comic book industry and its distributors require the ability to differentiate among the issues of a given year�s comic, as well as alternate covers and different printings. This is accomplished by adding a 5-digit issue supplemental code to the right of the standard UPC code for a comic book. Consider this example:
12-digit standard UPC barcode
Periodical or issue supplemental which identifies the issue of a given year, cover and printing


How are Barcodes for Comic Books different?

The requirements for a barcode for comic books differ slightly from the standard UPC barcoding for other retail products and even the issue supplemental system used for magazines and other periodicals. The reason for this deviation is that the comic publishing industry requires the ability to track sales of the various issues of a given year�s comic book, multiple covers, and/or printings. You meet this requirement by using a 5-digit periodical/issue supplemental code in addition to your UPC code.


Do I really need a Barcode on my Comic Book?

Yes, most stores have electronic point of sale (ePOS) systems that enable them to keep track of their sales and stocks and to reorder comic books by scanning the barcode.

Most retailers refuse to accept comics that are not barcoded. In addition, practically all distributors make use of barcodes in their warehouse systems.


How do Barcodes for Comic Books work?

The 12-digit barcode on the left is the standard UPC barcode. This 12-digit UPC code identifies the sale of one title by one publisher.
What differs from one issue of the comic to another is the barcode on the right. This barcode is referred to as the periodical (bar)code or issue supplemental and identifies the issue of a given year, the cover, and the printing. For example:
  Issue of the Given Year is notated in first 3 digits of the supplemental code.
  Quarterly comics require issue codes 001, 002, 003, and finally 004.
  Monthly comic books require issue codes 001 through 012.
  Weekly comic books require issue codes 001 through 053.
  Cover Variations are covered by the 4th digit of the supplemental code. You start with 1 and number up. (For most of our clients there are none and this digit remains set at �1�)
  Printing Variations are covered by the 5th digit of the supplemental code. You start with 1 and number up. (For most of our clients there are none and this digit remains set at �1�)

When scanned at the register of your retailer, your comic book title is identified with your company once your 12-digit UPC code scans. Additionally, the 5-digit supplemental code identifies the particular issue, cover, and printing being purchased.

Therefore when purchasing barcodes for Comic Books, you only need one UPC barcode to identify your comic book and as many issue supplemental codes as you have issues per year. (Yes, you can re-use the code from this year�s January issue [Supplemental �00111�] for next year�s January issue.)

You would only need to purchase additional issue supplemental codes if:
  1. Your issue frequency increases (from quarterly to monthly, for example)
  2. You have alternate covers of an issue
  3. You have multiple printings of an issue


How do I purchase Barcodes for Comic Books?

For assistance, please call us at +1 404-869-0701 or 877-872-2060.

Services Description Cost Ordering Instructions
Barcode Package for Comic Books UPC and Periodical Codes $89 (UPC Code)
$2.99 to $25 (Issue Codes)
Issue Codes only Use this option of you already have your UPC and only need to order additional issue codes. $2.99 to $25 each

We only require that you provide contact and billing information. You are not required to provide product information.

Your retailer collects your product information, which they associate with your barcode at the Point of Sale.

Note: We also accept checks, money orders, and wire transfers. If you wish to use one of those payment methods, please print and complete this form.


What do I get when I order my Barcode for Comic Books?

1stUpon completion of your order, you receive an email confirmation of your UPC barcode and/or issue code for comic book purchase.
2ndSimply Barcodes assigns your official UPC numbers from our database of official codes issued by the UCC (now called GS1).
3rdWe generate the digital barcode images.
4thWe email your UPC and/or issue barcodes to you as an attachment.


In what format are my Barcodes for Comic Books created?

When placing your order for the barcodes for your comic book, you have the option to select from 4 different graphics formats (EPS, PNG, JPEG, or AI) so that your graphic artist, printing company, or manufacturing facility can work with your barcode graphic in their preferred software. (Your choice of 1 format is included in the price but you may purchase as many as all 4 formats.)

EPS Format - This layered, vector EPS file is the preferred format of most graphic designers due to its quality and versatility, particularly for resizing. EPS is an "exchange" format, not necessarily associated with one specific graphics program. An exchange format is one intended for multiple applications to be able to open.
PNG Format - This raster PNG file works well for graphic artists who need a transparent background. This format supports lossless data compression. However, this format is not suitable for significant resizing.
JPEG Format - This uncompressed, high-quality JPEG file is the most common file format. All computers can open a JPEG. However, it is not suitable for resizing.
AI or Adobe Illustrator - This layered, vector AI file, generated in Adobe Illustrator, is the preferred format of most graphic designers due to its quality and versatility, particularly for resizing. AI is an application-native file format for Adobe Illustrator. An application-native format is intended for use by the creating application.


When do I get my Barcodes for Comic Books?

The turn-around time is often within an hour.
All orders received before 4 p.m. Eastern Time on business days are completed the same day. Orders placed after 4 p.m. will be processed next business day. If you require RUSH completion, please call 877-872-2060 (toll-free) or +1 404-869-0701 (international) to make arrangements.


How do I get my Barcode on my Comic book?

Providing the barcode image to your graphic artist and including it in the design of your packaging prior to printing is the easiest and most economical way of getting your barcode on your comic book.

If your comic book has already been printed, you will need barcode labels. If you would like to order pre-printed barcode labels, please select this option when ordering your UPC code. If you have already completed your order, then click label printing to order labels. All orders received before 2 p.m. EST on business days are completed the same day and shipped for free within the continental U.S.




For further information on Barcodes for Magazines, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
or call our team at 877-872-2060 or +1-404-869-0701 (international).


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