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PIPS,Inc has always had a close relationship with the publishing industry, through its Publication Identification and Processing Systems Division which grew out of the experiences of the founder George Wright when employed in the magazine and book distribution field. In 1960's he was a leader in the establishment of a 5-digit magazine title identifier known as the BIPAD number. At the same time the industry was seeking a method of machine recognition of magazine covers in order to record and count unsold newsstand copies returned for credit.

As the supermarket retailers were investigating the economics of checkout scanning and even before the U.P.C. symbol was selected, Wright saw the potential for incorporating the BIPAD number in the proposed product code and using the symbol to count returns. He also conceived the use of a supplemental symbol, outside of the regular U.P.C. to encode additional product characteristic identification beyond that necessary for retail sale, i.e., magazine issue and book title. (This symbology, with the numbers above the bars, can be seen on magazines and books to the right of the U.P.C. or EAN.)

Wright served as chairman of the ad hoc publishing industry committee which successfully implemented the use of U.P.C. on covers and thus revolutionized the periodical and paperback book distribution operations and sale data collection through returns scanning.

He has been a member of the Book Industry Systems Advisory Committee (BISAC) since its very earliest years, serving on the Committees involved with machine readable coding and the development of the Bookland/EAN symbol on hard and soft cover trade and textbooks. He serves on the Distribution Committee of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and authored the Guidelines for Shipping Container Codes & Symbols for the U.S. Book Industry.

When the technical and scientific journal publishers, distributors and user groups including libraries formed the Serial Industry Systems Advisory Committee (SISAC), it turned to PIPS to advise on the symbology appropriate to recognize the publication, for the purpose of recording receipt and use of each title and issue and the development of systems for use of the symbol. A PIPS principal chairs the Publishers' Technical Advisory sub-committee.

PIPS developed the 5-digit supplemental coding structure used by many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe, to encode the various editions based on day-of-the-week, time-of-day, and region demographics.

As consultant to DISTRIPRESS, the worldwide organization of publishers and distributors, Wright was instrumental in having the International Article Numbering (EAN) association accept the North American magazine coding structure and the supplemental symbology, providing for scanning code compatibility within the industry throughout the world.

Thus, PIPS is the only organization which has been involved with the development and implementation of all of the bar code system standards of all of the various publishing groups in the United States!

If you are a magazine publisher who needs detailed information on the BIPAD magazine coding system and an application for a BIPAD number, please contact Harrington Associates LLC, the administrators of the BIPAD system at the following URL:

Once you have obtained your industry-standard, 5-digit BIPAD magazine title identification number, please get back in touch with PIPS for your U.P.C. bar code master or labels.


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