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Re: [Bug-barcode] barcode does not encode ISBN 13

From: Goulven Guillard
Subject: Re: [Bug-barcode] barcode does not encode ISBN 13
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:23:29 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/45.4.0

Hi Norbert,

Thanks for the feedback.

You're partly right, however when the actual ISBN-13 prefix is 979 barcode replaces it with 978.



Le 11/11/2017 à 23:50, Norbert de Jonge a écrit :
Hi Goulven,

I'd like to reply to your (13-month old) post since I recently ran into
the same issue you describe, and found your post on lists.gnu.org while
searching for a solution.

Your example ISBN, 1234567890123, probably isn't suitable for testing
since it's not a valid ISBN number. The last character is a control
digit and would need to be 8. Anyway, the "can't encode" error remains
even for 1234567890128.

From what I can tell, the reason is that barcode (v0.98), as you wrote,
only accepts 10 digits for ISBN. But what the man page might mean by
"are encoded as" is that the software accepts ISBN-10 and then
converts this to ISBN-13.

For example, if "The Fellowship of the Ring" uses ISBN-13
978-0-395-08254-6 then you'll first need to convert this to ISBN-10
0-395-08254-4 to get valid input for the barcode program.

address@hidden ~ $ barcode -e isbn -b '978-0-395-08254-6' -o test.pdf
barcode: can't encode "978-0-395-08254-6"
address@hidden ~ $ barcode -e isbn -b '0-395-08254-4' -o test.pdf
address@hidden ~ $

The latter command actually generates a test.pdf with ISBN-13.

Best regards,


The barcode manpage claims that "ISBN numbers
are encoded as EAN-13 symbols", though it only
lists ISBN 10 examples.

However, the following command :

$ barcode -e ISBN -b 1234567890123

results in the following error :

barcode: can't encode "1234567890123"

Indeed, it seems to only work when the input string is 10 digits.


Goulven Guillard.

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