What are ASINs, ISBNs and UPCs/EANs? Full Guide [2021]

What are ASINs, ISBNs and UPCs/EANs

If you are looking forward to selling products on Amazon, and have come across several websites searching for the same, you must have come across these terms. Well. What are they? What do they mean? Why are they used? 

You must be wondering how Amazon keeps a track on the products ordered, shipped and delivered. This is where unique identification numbers of products are crucial. They help in identifying a unique product in the entire serpentine supply chain system of Amazon.

Let us delve deeper to understand the meaning of ASIN, ISBN, UPC and EAN to grasp the Amazon market.

What are ASINs?

ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is a 10-charcter alphanumeric unique code that’s assigned by Amazon.com and its partners. It is used for product identification with the product catalogue. The ASINs are unique only within a marketplace. The same product can have different ASINs in different national Amazon markets.

The ASIN number is the foundation of Amazon’s product catalogue structure. Shoppers can type the ASIN number in the search box to get the exact product they are looking for. 

It is prohibited to create a new ASIN for a product that already exists on Amazon. You can find an ASIN using the search box on Amazon’s homepage or within the Add a product page of your Amazon Seller Central account. You can search by the model name or type. From the search results, click the link to the product’s detail page. You’ll find the ASIN in the middle of the product information section.

What are ISBNs?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a 10 or 13-digit unique number that is assigned to every book and can be found on the back cover, above the barcode. An ISBN is the standard way of differentiating between books. It also separates books based on their publication formats like multiple editions, hardcover, paperback, audiocassette, CD-ROM, and so on.

As soon as you receive your ISBN number you can log in to your Amazon Seller account and add a new product listing using your ISBN number.

The digits in an ISBN code for their category. Let us break it down and get a closer look.

  • First 2 digits represent the Group.
  • Next 4 digits refer to Publisher.
  • The later 3 digits stand for the Title of the book.
  • The final number is Check Digit.

An ISBN cannot be re-used, even if the book in question goes out of print. You will need to apply for a new ISBN in these circumstances-

  • Changing the publisher
  • Changing the cover page
  • Making any textual changes in the book

What are UPCs?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code. A UPC is most typically 12 digits long. Those numbers reflect the size and weight of an item. This number is universal and used for making barcodes. No matter which retailer or marketplace you are using, this number will be recognized and associated with your product. UPC is used extensively for retail packaging in United States.

The UPCs became very popular as automated billing began to creep in. To but a UPC code, apply for a GS1 company prefix, figure out how many bar codes you need and figure out your pricing plan. Identify each product with a GTIN, determine your barcode type and place it on your product when you receive it.

What are EANs?

EAN stands for European Article Number. It is a 12-digit or 13-digit product identification code. Each EAN uniquely identifies the product, manufacturer, and its attributes. The EAN is printed on a product label or packaging as a bar code. You can obtain EANs from the manufacturer. If your products do not have manufacturer EANs, and you need to buy EAN codes.

The EAN includes the country of origin, the manufacturer and a product number. In addition to that it includes a checksum.

EANs are used in a similar way to UPC. The only major difference between UPC and EAN is that EAN has 13 digits and the information in the code is in a different order than a UPC. UPC is majorly used in USA and Canada, while EAN is used globally.

Why are the identification codes important?

These unique product identifiers are an important part of Amazon’s selling policies as they help shoppers find the items they want. If not used correctly, Amazon sellers can violate selling terms and even lose their eligibility on the marketplace.


You need to track products on Amazon to control their flow from supplier to customer. The tracking would have been impossible without these identification codes. The products are coded to keep a track on the array of products being ordered, packed, shipped and delivered. ASINs, UPCs, EANs and ISBNs solve the problem.

Each step of the convoluted logistics network is taken care of. The coding prevents the mistakes in delivery and shipping. The success and accuracy of entire product delivery is attributed to the unique codes.

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