About BIPADD Numbers
In early 1999 a task force sponsored by the Magazine Retail Advisory Council was created to analyze different ways of using the U.P.C. to better address their needs. They concluded that there were only two viable alternatives. One was to continue what was being done at the time or to implement a Unique UPC. The latter gave birth to the BIPAD number. This number refers to the magazine industry's universal title identification number.
The BIPAD number is essentially a standardization of the 5 digit item code that is assigned by the owner of the Company Prefix. In other words, the publisher purchased the 6 digit prefix from GS1 (then called UCC) to which he added the 5 digit BIPAD number (standardized item number) and the check digit. A different item number would be used for each issue, and for each price. The objective of this was to provide a means to collect sales and movement data. According to the Magazine Retail Advisory Council Unique Universal Product Code Impact Statement released March 1, 1999 by the Herman Consulting Group, inc. such a scheme would increase the number of required 12 digit U.P.C. symbols by 19 fold.
Although there was significant impact on the retailer in the amount of numbers he had to store in his in store computer, the system was workable. However in April of 2002, GS1 (then UCC) recognized that the quantity of U.P.C. number was finite and that assigning 6 digit prefixes to all new publishers was extremely wasteful of this limited resource. Consequently they stopped issuing 6 digit prefixes and began assigning only variable length company prefixes which in turn allowed only a 2 digit item number in most cases. The 5 digit BIPAD number could not be used with the variable length prefix. The magazine industry began a communications campaign to inform the wholesalers and distributors of the change. Unfortunately, some Wholesalers and Distributors are not standards compliant and continue to assume BIPAD is the only means to communicate information about magazines.
Today, new publishers may make a business decision to turn over distribution of the magazine to a wholesaler. If they elect to let the Wholesaler manage the information, there is no need for them to own a Company Prefix from GS1 or any of the ?resellers?. They would then apply to Harrington Associates for a BIPAD number. The Wholesaler, not the publisher, would then use their own 6 digit Company Prefix (Wholesalers and Distributors are also members of GS1 US) along with the 5 digit BIPAD number assigned by Harrington Associates and encode it in a U.P.C. The wholesaler then releases the product for sale in the retail channel. The BIPAD number though is no longer the complex number which was to be unique for each issue and price, but is simply a single number per title.
The long and the short of this is that the BIPAD provides no advantage to the publishing industry over the standard U.P.C. because it is only unique to the title and provides no additional information. There is no reason to have a BIPAD number and a number issued by either GS1 or a reseller. The bottom line is that the Publisher must make the business decision as to how their magazine will be distributed. Note that not all Wholesalers require a BIPAD number. The numbers now being assigned by GS1 or those from a reseller, cannot accommodate the 5 digit BIPAD number.