How to get a UPC code for Amazon: The missing link to creating a product page, and adding a product to Amazon’s catalog
How do you get a UPC code to sell a new product on Amazon?
Recently, I posted an article titled How to Add An Item to Amazon’s Catalog. In it, I explain how to create a product page for an item that isn’t already for sale on Amazon.
I’ve made significant money since I stopped rejecting items I found that weren’t already in Amazon’s catalog, and started creating new product pages for them. Sales that come from Amazon product pages that I created are essentially free money.
There was one crucial detail I left out that article: How to buy your own barcode, aka UPC code.
When do you need a UPC code?
If you’re creating an new Amazon “product detail page” on Amazon, and either:
- It’s not a book.
- It’s a book, but it doesn’t have an ISBN.
…then you need a UPC code.
When you’re creating your product page, at the bottom of the “Vital Info” tab, you’ll see a field marked “ISBN Number or… UPC:”
Generally, books published in 1970 or after will have an ISBN. Most of the time. So you will have no trouble here.
However, a lot of books won’t have ISBNs. These include:
- Many self-published books.
- Many micro-press books.
There are many exceptions for music and movies as well.
In these instances, we need a UPC code. If you think UPC barcodes are the domain of big business only, you’re totally wrong. They’re easy to get. And they’re cheap.
Here’s how to get a UPC code
- Go to eBay.
- Search for “UPC code” or “UPC barcode”
No really. That’s it. At the time of this writing, the first result that comes up offers 500 UPC numbers for $44. That’s an insane bargain, since it buys you 500 Amazon product pages – probably more than you’ll ever create in your lifetime.
I bought a list of 100 some time ago for $13.99, and I’m still going through them.
Here’s what you get when you purchase UPC codes / barcodes
Generally, you’ll get an email from the seller upon purchase. Depending on the seller, there should be several attachments. Every time I’ve purchased UPC numbers, I’ve received the following:
- Some sort of “certificate of authenticity”
- Barcode artwork
- Text file with the UPC codes
- A spreadsheet file, also containing the UPC codes
There you go: nstant delivery, and you can have a new Amazon product page up in 5 minutes.
I wish buying UPC codes was more complicated so I would have more material to fill this post with, but that’s it.
Buying UPC codes: A word of caution
I’ve never had any trouble with buying cheap UPC codes purchased off eBay. However, you hear stories. So be aware of a couple things:
- It’s possible you’ll receive bogus numbers.
- It’s possible you’ll receive real numbers that will be issued to someone else and cause you problems.
At 2 cents each, why does it matter? Because if you create an Amazon product page with a bogus or redundant UPC number, Amazon may take your product page down. And then you’re out of business (at least for that item). I have no idea what your recourse is at that point, and if Amazon’s allows you to just set up another product detail page with a new, legit UPC.
This has never been a huge concern for me because in most instances, I set up a page for an item I only plan to sell once. So its low-risk.
For those who set up an Amazon product page with plans to sell dozens, hundreds, or thousands of an item, you might want to purchase from a company with a proven track records.
One trusted company is Bar Codes Talk.
Higher prices, but you can pretty much guarantee you’re getting a legitimate product.