Barcode Reader Support

With Readerware you can use a barcode reader to enter an ISBN, simply scan the barcode instead and Readerware will convert the barcode into an ISBN.

You will typically find the barcode on the back cover of a book, both hard cover books and paperbacks will include a barcode on the back cover. However some paperback publishers include a non standard barcode on the back cover. In this case they will include a compatible barcode inside the front cover. So if you have trouble scanning the barcode on the back cover of a paperback, if Readerware is unable to convert this barcode into an ISBN, look for a barcode inside the front cover and scan that instead.

Readerware barcode support can be very useful both when building your initial database and normal maintenance. If you are using Readerware to track your "to read" pile for example, you will want to retrieve the entry for a book to mark it as read or add comments, ratings etc. A barcode reader is the fastest way to retrieve a book from the database.

Anywhere you can enter an ISBN in Readerware you can simply scan in the barcode instead. Readerware will convert the barcode into a correctly formatted ISBN. When searching for a book, Readerware will immediately search for the title after you scan the barcode, there is no need to press the enter key.

When deciding whether or not a barcode reader will be useful to you, it will help to check out the contents of your library. How many books in your collection contain barcodes? All new books you purchase will contain a barcode, how many new books do you buy? How often will you be searching the database for a specific book?

Types of Barcode Readers

There are many types of barcode readers. Readerware will handle any bar code reader that enters data via a keyboard interface. These are often referred to as "wedge" readers as they wedge themselves in between the keyboard and your computer. Some barcode readers require driver software, others do not. Readerware will support either type, but if a barcode reader requires driver support, you need to ensure that a driver is available for your operating system, (Windows, Linux etc.).

There are basically two types of barcode readers that are applicable to an application like Readerware:

See The Readerware Web Site for specific recommendations.

Types of  Barcodes

There are two basic types of barcodes that are used on books. Hard cover books have a European Article Number (EAN) on the back jacket.

Paperbacks have different types of barcodes. Some will include an EAN like a hardcover book. However mass market paperbacks, those designed for sale in places like supermarkets, will not have an EAN as they typically cannot be read by supermarket scanners. Instead they have a UPC bar code.

Fortunately Readerware will support either type of barcode and you need not know which type of barcode you are scanning. But there are some differences.

Manufacturer to Publisher Mapping

The EAN embeds the ISBN so Readerware can retrieve the ISBN from the bar code. Mass market paper backs only include part of the ISBN, but also include a manufacturer code. Readerware needs to map the UPC manufacturer code to the ISBN publisher code, and reconstruct the full ISBN. Readerware has mappings for most publishers built in. But you may occasionally see an error dialog reporting an undefined manufacturer code when scanning a paperback.

Once you enter the correct mapping, Readerware will remember it and will be able to handle books from that paperback publisher. Mapping the manufacturer code to the publisher code is best explained by example.

Here is a UPC code from a paperback:

Although the ISBN is printed under the barcode, it is not part of the barcode itself. So when the barcode is scanned, the ISBN is not included. Here is how Readerware maps the manufacturer to the publisher and generates the ISBN. The UPC manufacturer is identified by the first 6 digits, in this example the manufacturer code is 071009. The ISBN identifies the publisher by the first two number groups, in this example the publisher code is 0440.

So if this publisher were unmapped, Readerware would display a manufacturer code of 071009 and ask you to enter the corresponding publisher code, in this case 0440. That's all there is to it, Readerware is now able to generate the ISBN for all mass market paperbacks by this publisher.

Occasionally a publisher will run out of book numbers and will be allocated another publisher code by the ISBN agency. But the UPC manufacturer code is unchanged. So it is possible to have the same UPC manufacturer code mapped to two different ISBN publisher codes. Readerware can handle this.

If when you scan a paperback Readerware displays an incorrect ISBN you either have an invalid mapping or you need to add a second publisher code. Go to Preferences, Books tab. The mapping table will be displayed and you can edit the mappings:

When a UPC manufacturer code is mapped to more than one ISBN publisher code, Readerware will display a selection dialog when you scan the barcode.

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