How to Put an ISBN Barcode on Your Book

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Great news, aspiring bestselling authors – the newest version of Blurb BookSmart® makes it super easy to put your ISBN barcode on the back of your book. Here’s how it works:

1: Download the latest version of BookSmart and make your book.

2: Go to the back cover of your book and choose your layout.

3: Click on “Insert” in the top navigation bar and select “ISBN.” An ISBN container will appear on your back cover layout.

Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 3.58.51 PM How to Put an ISBN Barcode on Your Book

Click “Insert” and select “ISBN”


Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 3.59.14 PM How to Put an ISBN Barcode on Your Book

Here’s where your ISBN should go


4. Go to “Get photo,” get your barcode image, and drag and drop it into the container.

Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 3.59.40 PM How to Put an ISBN Barcode on Your Book

Drag and drop your ISBN just like it’s a photo


Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 3.59.51 PM How to Put an ISBN Barcode on Your Book

Click “Preview Book” to see how it’ll look

It’s that simple. We’ve done the leg work to make sure your ISBN barcode will automatically fit in the box; be placed in the optimum position per industry standard guidelines; and won’t collide with any production barcodes generated by our printers. However, if you want to adjust the position of your barcode container, you can. Just keep these recommended ISBN guidelines in mind and use the “Edit Layout” feature to move the container.

That’s great, you may say, but how do I get an ISBN in the first place and what are these barcodes of which you speak? Easy. You’ll find almost everything you need to know about ISBNs and barcodes in this helpful blog post.

We’ve also checked in with a few Blurbarians who have purchased their ISBNs from Bowker (the U.S. agency handling ISBNs) and then used barcode-generating apps to create barcodes for their books. A simple Google search will turn up lots of apps from which to choose.

Word to the wise:  You do not need an ISBN and barcode if you are only selling your book in the Blurb Bookstore. But if you are selling your book in outlets beyond the Blurb Bookstore, you will need an ISBN and barcode and you’ll need a separate ISBN and barcode for every version of your book – hardcover, softcover, ebook, etc. So do yourself a favor and buy more than one ISBN and barcode.

Still have questions? We’re here to help. Just contact our Customer Support team and we’ll get you up and running with your book and your ISBN in no time. Let the sales begin!

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  1. Wonderful news. I’ve been wanting to do this for my mom’s book.

    Although it won the Ferguson Kansas History Book Award, libraries shy away from it because it doesn’t have an ISBN. Bookstores are reluctant to handle books without ISBNs and it’s a problem for Amazon too.

      October 24, 2012 – 5:53 am   Permalink
  2. I have what I think is the most up-to-date version of Booksmart. I am trying to add my barcode and cant find the insert isbn option. I have compared your screen shot list of options above and there are at least four options missing on my ‘insert’ menu. I cant tell what they are because your resolution is to fuzzy to read but I can see the number of lines and words. I have two items missing in the first section, One in the second section and the last section is missing. I am so close to finishing my book and have already missed out on two discount offers while trying to sort this out. Please help.

    By Sue
      December 2, 2012 – 4:42 pm   Permalink
  3. Hey Sue,

    Which version are you using? The most current version is And, if you’re not sure, the best thing to do is just to download the version that’s up there right now. If you’ve already done that, make sure that you back the back cover selected when you go to “insert” the ISBN container. If you’ve done all these things, try our Support Team:



    By Kent
      December 3, 2012 – 12:32 pm   Permalink
  4. Thankyou for that. My version was different from the one you quoted, I have downloaded the new one and the ISBN Container option was there. Problem solved.

    By Sue
      December 4, 2012 – 1:14 pm   Permalink
  5. If I created my book in the older version of booksmart, does it meant when I download the newer version, I will have to re-do my boo.

      January 14, 2013 – 5:20 am   Permalink
  6. Hey Enoch,

    Don’t worry, you won’t have to redo your book. BookSmart will be able to open up the last saved version.



    By Kent
      January 14, 2013 – 11:22 am   Permalink
  7. I am almost ready to upload my book into your bookstore, to let folks know they can buy it. However, I created my book from a word document and will upload it from there again. I will be purchasing bar codes and ISBN numbers. Can you tell me how to add them to my book? Before I upload the word document, or afterwards? I would appreciate specific details. Thanks for your support!

    By Barb Collins
      March 16, 2013 – 4:53 pm   Permalink
  8. Hey Barb,

    You would want to add this before you upload. Once you upload, you can’t make any changes to the text or cover.



    By Kent
      March 16, 2013 – 8:06 pm   Permalink
  9. Do you have a link to your website that offers more detail in how this should be done (and where) before I upload it again? or does it not matter where I put it?

    By Barb Collins
      March 17, 2013 – 4:47 pm   Permalink
  10. Hey Barb,

    You should contact our Support Team, so they can give you some additional tips: Make sure to let them know which tool you’re using.



    By Kent
      March 18, 2013 – 10:09 am   Permalink
  11. I have a question about copyright & isbn numbers. I am doing a family journal, 100 pages, with photos and documents and would like to donate it to the home library. I’m almost finished.

    a) Should I copyright it? because it will be a public book and it’s about my family.
    b) Should I isbn number it? I intend to have only two copies printed, however, the public may want to order it in the future.

    By Sally
      March 20, 2013 – 2:30 pm   Permalink
  12. Hey Sally,

    That sounds like a fantastic project. Copyrighting is never a bad idea. Fortunately, your work is copyrighted once you type the copyright symbol, your name, and the date (You’ll find a copyright page or template in most of our book-making tools). As for the ISBN number, you should ask your library if it’s necessary for them to carry the book. If not, save yourself the cost. People can still order the book directly from Blurb without the ISBN.



    By Kent
      March 20, 2013 – 8:59 pm   Permalink
  13. Hi I have an ISBN and Bar Code that has been downloaded on my computer as a PDF. When I use Get Photo on Blurb I can’t capture the image. What do I need to do? Thanks

    By Bruce
      June 23, 2013 – 3:14 am   Permalink
  14. Hey Bruce,

    Just save (or export) the PDF as a JPG. You should be able to do this with your PDF reader.



    By Kent
      June 27, 2013 – 11:11 am   Permalink
  15. All done, thanks

    By Bruce
      July 8, 2013 – 11:54 pm   Permalink
  16. Hi,

    I have the ISBN number and now require a barcode for my book does the printer provide this?



    By John Bynoe
      October 11, 2013 – 4:52 am   Permalink
  17. version 34780 is allowing me to add an isbn no. Should i still download the newer version? what is the difference between my version and the 34720 version?

    By Re
      October 17, 2013 – 10:30 am   Permalink
  18. Glad to hear it’s working for you as is. We do always suggest updating the latest version of BookSmart, as we make other improvements.

    By Kent
      October 30, 2013 – 10:52 am   Permalink
  19. Hey John,

    The ISBN should come with a barcode. If you didn’t get one, you should contact your ISBN vendor.



    By Kent
      October 30, 2013 – 10:57 am   Permalink

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