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Bar Codes, ISBNs, SMC, etc.

*Quick Updated Summary on Barcodes as of 11/20/2017*

Rareclarity ISBNs are housed here (buy more as needed from Bowker at this site):
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Organization Name: Rareclarity

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*Crazy retail & bar code stuff*

Making progress on understand retail distribution. Man is it complicated! I’ll pass on my notes for any who are interested. In negotiations with Studio 2 Publishing to do my printing and retail distribution. Anywhere, for any interested, here’s what I’ve learned.

SMC = Standard Manufacturer Code
SKU = Stock Keeping Unit
ISBN = International Standard Book Number
UPC = Universal Product Code

*SMC Code = RGC*
Today I received my SMC (Standard Manufacturer Code) from the HMA (Hobby Manufacturers Association, see An SMC is sort of like an Airport code (LAX = Los Angeles airport) — you use it as part of your SKU to uniquely identify your products. This is part of what you need in order to see products into hobby stores. My SMC code is ‘RGC’ (for RoGue Comet).

A SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is a code a manufacturer uses to uniquely identify it’s products to retailers and distributors. In the hobby industry, the standard for a SKU is:

<SMC> + <4 or 5 digit number>

The SMC’s three letters appear before the product number. Distributors prefer 4-5 numbers with no other letters or special characters other than the SMC letters, example SMC1001.

For Rogue Comet, I’ll be using the following SKU standards:

RGC0100 Retro 5e Games & Supplements
RGC0200 Rarescape Games & Supplements
RGC0300 RPG Accessories

So for my Retro line, the first two products off the press are:
RGC0101 Dungeonesque Red Box RPG Box Set
RGC0102 Dungeonesque White Box RPG Box Set

*ISBNs & EANs*
ISBN’s are not required for Hobby Games, but books stores (Barnes & Noble basically) still require an ISBN. B&N also requires an EAN with the price embedded. Something to consider if / when I seek distribution through B&N.

Eventually if I use Studio 2 Publishing or do high-end distribution, I’ll want ISBNs, but at smaller scales, I don’t need it. The D&D Starter Set Box, Fate Core, and recent Savage Worlds books published by Studio 2 all have ISBN bar codes, even if it’s arguably not a book.

If you don’t need an ISBN, then a UPC will suffice for a bar code. I bought mine from

Here’s a video tutorial on using the bar codes from NationwideBarCode: