How To Scan Barcodes In Magazines? 2 SIMPLE Ways!

Feb 09, 2023 - Views: 190

Rating: 4.9 - 53Votes

How to scan barcodes in magazines?

If you are wondering how to do that, you are in the right place! In this post, we will show you some useful information about barcodes in magazines as well as how to scan and read it in 2 simple ways.

Let’s check it out!

Scan barcodes in magazines

Scan barcodes in magazines

What Type Of Barcode Is Used For Magazines?

It's possible that a barcode will be necessary for releasing self-published items. 

So what type of barcode is used for magazines? ISSN, UPC, and QR codes are the three most common types of  magazine barcode. 

Check out their application now!


ISSN barcodes are used for publications that are updated on a regular basis with a new edition.

Importantly, the ISSN is a numeric identification number that only acts as a means of identification and contains no information on the nature or contents of the publication.




The sale of one magazine is tracked by the 12-digit UPC.

To differentiate a specific year's edition, the UPC may include a second barcode to the right of the original barcode, which can encode two additional digits and is often shorter than the primary barcode.

UPC code example

UPC code example

QR code 

With QR codes, you can pack a lot of information into a small area, which boosts reader engagement and gives a standard magazine a dynamic aspect.

By using their smartphone to scan a QR Code, readers can also access things like content or a special offer.

QR code

QR code

In fact, magazine QR codes are mostly used for marketing purposes. You can read more about benefits of magazine advertising in our blog!

How To Scan Barcodes In Magazines?

It’s very easy to scan barcodes in magazines in today's world, and you can apply both 2 main ways below because it is similar to scanning any barcode.

Let’s check it out!

Use barcode scanner

To use a barcode scanner for magazines, first you need to ensure that the reader light is on in the scanner. Find a magazine to scan and look for the barcode.

After that, center the scanner light on the barcode and wait for the scanner to gather up the data. 

To get a reading, move the scanner light up and down the bar code.

Note: You might need to buy the 2D barcode scanner for the best use. 

  • ISSN and UPC are 1D barcodes: use both 1D and 2D barcode scanners.

  • QR code: only use 2D scanner.

Use barcode scanner

Use barcode scanner

Use smartphone

Scanning modern-day barcodes with your smartphone allows you to rapidly obtain magazine information.

How do I scan barcodes on magazines? If you don't know how to do that, check it below!

  • iOS

To scan magazine barcodes iPhone, open the Camera app and point your phone at the barcode.

Make sure that the barcode can be read in the app from all four corners, even if it doesn't fill the whole screen. 

When the barcode is successfully scanned, a pop-up banner will appear above it, and a yellow barcode symbol will also show in the bottom right corner.

Finally, click the barcode or pop-up banner in the bottom right corner of the app.



  • Android

If your phone is running Android 8 or later, you can do magazine barcode scan by pointing it at the barcode while the camera app is active. 

Ensure that the barcode can be read from the viewfinder from all four corners. 

Tap the pop-up banner to finish. 

The Google Lens tool can be used to scan the barcode if you are unable to view the pop-up banner.



Why Can’t I Scan My Barcodes In Magazines?

You have known “how to scan barcodes in magazines?”

Is scanning your barcodes more difficult than it should be? 

There are several reasons why barcodes might not scan, but the most of them come down to one of three things.

Your equipment isn’t suited to your bar codes

First, make sure you have the right scanner for the job. Is your scanner an older model?

If so, think about the type of barcode you're using. Is it 2D or linear? 

Although it is uncommon to come across a barcode scanner that cannot read 2D barcodes nowadays, certain older machines may only be capable of scanning linear barcodes.

Your equipment isn’t suited to your bar codes

Your equipment isn’t suited to your bar codes

Your scanner isn’t being operated properly

Scanning barcodes appears to be a simple operation, but your scanner has limitations. Angle and distance are the two most important aspects of an effective scan procedure.

  • Angle

Scanners read barcodes by detecting the contrast between the code's black lines and gaps. 

Light reflects off the bar code on glossy surfaces, visually changing the contrast of the code at certain angles. 

This glare not only impacts our perception of the barcode, but also that of the scanner, making it more difficult for the scanner to pick the image.

  • Distance

Each scanner has a unique read range or depth of field. 

To put it simply, the smaller the bar code, the closer the scanner must be; yet, even with a small bar code, it is possible to be too close. 

Sizes of bar codes that your scanner can read.

Sizes of bar codes that your scanner can read.

Your bar code labels aren’t suited to your application or environment

When it comes to scannability, there are 3 key application and environmental issues to consider: barcode placement, image quality and dirt and damage.

  • Barcode placement

Magazine barcode placement affects the scannability of the scanner.

One thing you need to note is that, ISSN number barcodes for magazines and newspapers have to be printed at the bottom of the front cover.

  • Image quality

Your bar code labels aren’t suited to your application or environment

Your bar code labels aren’t suited to your application or environment

Image quality is determined by your printer. 300 dpi is considered standard for almost all applications. 

There is just one case in which image resolution can become an issue, and that is when you have very small labels and are attempting to retain a large amount of data. 

If your printer satisfies dpi standards yet barcodes still don't work, or if performance appears to be deteriorating over time, the operation or maintenance of your printers may be to blame.

  • Dirt & damage 

If you are having trouble with readings and are working in a very dirty environment, you should first make sure that the bar codes are well cleaned before scanning.

If your barcodes are clean and you're still having trouble getting readings, the problem might be damage rather than dirt. 

Barcode scanning can be hampered by damage such as peeling, smearing, or scratching.

Reasons you can’t scan barcode magazine

Reasons you can’t scan barcode magazine

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the QR code on magazine?

A magazine QR code allows readers to access material or an exclusive offer by scanning a code with their cellphones. 

It increases magazine reader engagement and introduces an interactive aspect to the print media sector.

Do magazines have barcodes?

Yes, magazines have barcodes. 

The sale of one title by one publisher is identified by the 12-digit UPC code. The barcode on the right varies from one edition of the magazine to the next.

Can any scanner read any barcode?

Not all barcode scanners can read every type of barcode. 

Only 1D barcode can be read by linear imagers and laser barcode scanners. On the other hand, all popular 1D and 2D barcodes can be read by imager (camera-based) 2D barcode scanners.


That’s all the necessary information that you should know about barcodes in magazines. Now that, after reading this post, you know how to scan barcodes in magazines in simple ways. Keep checking Barcode Live for additional barcode-related information!

Rating: 4.9 - 53Votes



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