About Bar Code Compliance

The presence of bar codes on your products is a significant factor in determining how quickly shipments are received, and therefore how consistently your title is in inventory and available to Amazon.com's millions of customers. For this reason, Amazon.com requires that products shipped to our fulfillment centers include a bar code image.

To properly scan your items, all bar codes must comply with the following guidelines:


  1. Anything that obscures or damages a bar code image will reduce our ability to scan it.
    • The bar code should be placed on the back of your title, in the lower right quadrant.
    • Do not allow protective packaging to obscure the bar code.
    • CDs and DVDs should always be shrink-wrapped to protect them during shipping and differentiate them from used copies. Make sure the bar code can be scanned through any protective packaging.
  2. A bar code is an image of a specific ISBN or UPC. The bar code must scan to the original ISBN or UPC number.
    • If you get a new ISBN or UPC, you must get a new bar code.
    • If you run out of bar code labels, you cannot use a bar code from an item with a different ISBN or UPC.
    • If you give your bar code to your printer or manufacturer to apply, your manufacturer must not apply your bar code to an item with a different ISBN or UPC.
  3. To ensure proper scanning, bar codes should be tested with a full ANSI-certified verifier, such as the HHP QC600PC Bar Code Verifier with the 6milVisible Pen or Mouse style wand. This device checks all the parameters that contribute to a high-grade bar code. Having your bar code scanned by the local bookstore is not equivalent to having it verified. If you are able to print your own bar codes, remember that any printing process can create defects that reduce bar code performance.
  4. To improve the print contrast, the bar code should be printed with black ink on a white background, and there must be 1/4-inch of white space on the left and right sides of your bar code. This is known as the "quiet zone."
  5. If your item has both an ISBN and a UPC, we require that your item be listed in our catalog, and bar coded, under its UPC only.
  6. Several things can cause your bar code not to scan, making you liable for non-compliance charges. Some examples are below. Read these over and discuss them with your printer, manufacturer, and/or shipper:
    • Altering the size or magnification of a bar code
    • Truncating the bar code
    • Shipping methods or packaging practices that allow your bar code to get scratched or damaged during transit. Pack your shipments carefully to avoid friction or scratches, either of which will damage your label.

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