No, that’s not just a load of old gobbledygook! When you start to go through the process of listing your items on Amazon  there are likely to be some terms that you might not understand. As these terms are important, I’ve prepared a short glossary to help you get to grips with the different reference numbers and the like that you will come across.

ISBN. You may already have heard of an ISBN number; it stands for International Standard Book Number, and can usually be found just above the barcode on a book. There are normally 13 numbers appearing in the following layout:


 EAN. The EAN, or European Article Number, is the 12 or 13 digit code that you will usually see beneath a barcode in this country. EAN codes are essential when listing a new product on Amazon for the vast majority of items. If you don’t know what the EAN is for the item that you wish to sell that’s alright; if you know the manufacturer of the product you can simply contact them to request the information.

If, however, you are selling a product that doesn’t actually have an EAN already (such as an unbranded product that you have sourced from China for example) it is possible to actually purchase a selection of these codes for yourself through the GS1 website. Just enter the following website address into your internet browser and follow the on screen instructions to apply for your very own barcodes. GS1 are extremely helpful and they have advisors available who you can speak with on the telephone.

Click here for the direct link for help with EAN’s specifically for Amazon:

Alternatively you can sometimes request an exemption from Amazon for an item that may simply not need an EAN, such as a piece of antique furniture. Keep reading for more information on how to request this exemption, but for now look at the image below showing you exactly what an EAN should look like.


UPC. The UPC, or Universal Product Code, is essentially the same as the EAN, a number appearing beneath the barcode. However, you will more commonly find a UPC on a product packaged within the United States rather than in Europe. Amazon will require you to submit either the EAN or UPC of a new item that you are listing.


ASIN. The final term that you might encounter in the process of listing your items for sale on Amazon is that of Amazon Standard Identification Numbers, or ASINs. An ASIN is made up from 10 letters and/or numbers that uniquely represent a certain item and will usually be the same as the ISBN number for a book. For other products though, a new ASIN will be created when you upload an item to the Amazon catalogue.