Solution Case Study

Barnes & Noble first began in 1873 when Charles M. Barnes started a book-selling business in Wheaton, Illinois. Later in 1917, his son, William, established Barnes & Noble in New York. This store developed a worldwide reputation for excellence by serving millions of customers with its comprehensive selection of general trade books, academic titles and textbooks, and medical books. Barnes & Noble was listed on the stock market in 1993, and expanded aggressively throughout the 1990s. Today, Barnes & Noble is in all 50 states and remains the top book retailer in the United States.


As a retailer that sold both book and non-book items, Barnes & Noble recognized, in 2010, the importance of adhering to both GS1 and BISG standardized guidelines. In order to maximize its logistic supply chain efficiency, Barnes & Noble needed a solution to help its vast number of suppliers to comply with the industry’s item and shipping identification requirements.

An Industry Wide Solution

Even though Bar Code Graphics already provided individual retailers barcode certification services for supplier enablement, it was important to Barnes & Noble to focus on a book industry solution to reduce costs and redundant processes. The primary technical specialist from Barnes & Noble was the chair of the BISG machine-readable coding sub-committee, and coordinated an industry solution. Bar Code Graphics, along with another barcode specialist drafted both specifications and the testing process that would be managed through the BISG industry group. Consequently, Bar Code Graphics was one of the exclusive testing agencies for the industry-wide certification initiative.

Printed Label Solutions

Since many companies do not have label printing capabilities or cannot comply with the standards, Barnes and Noble provides suppliers an approved list of companies who can furnish compliant labels. Bar Code Graphics has been the primary resource for printed labels, and we have several Excel-based order forms to accommodate the different formats vendors are in need of. To place an order, vendors need to select from the Excel order forms below for the format which meets their needs.

  • B&N Single Title Carton – Carton labels for suppliers selling books to B&N
    Download Form
  • B&N EAN Single Item Carton – Carton labels for items that have been assigned EAN-13 numbers
    Download Form
  • B&N UPC Single Item Carton – Carton labels for items that have been assigned UPC-12 numbers
    Download Form
  • BN Price Sticker – 1.25″ x .50″ printed price label
    Download Form
  • Shipping Label SSCC – Order form used by vendors providing SSCC numbers with their shipping labels
    Download Form
  • Shipping Label ASN Not Send – For vendors who have been approved by B&N to not provide SSCC numbers with their shipments
    Download Form

Every Excel form has two tabs and must be completed in Excel accordingly. The first tab is for billing and shipping information, so who is paying for the labels and where are we shipping them to. The second tab is for providing all the data that will be encoded into the labels. Completed order forms are to be submitted to for processing. * Vendor who are only in need of PDFs so that they can print themselves should ignore the ship to section on the first tab.

Pricing is $0.25 per label with a $75 minimum order fee. Turnaround is typically 1-2 business days after receipt and payment of order. Vendors should indicate if a PDF proof is necessary since Barnes & Noble typically requires that for their first order. This is very common and our label production team can email proofs immediately.