EAN, short for European Article Numbering, is a bar code system compatible with the UPC bar code system used in the United States. It can be found on just about any consumer product sold in Europe. Books also carry a bar code in which the ISBN has been encoded. This is called the bookland code.
EAN International, a non-profit organisation governing the use of the codes and ensuring their worldwide uniqueness, was formed in february 1977. It has 95 member organisations representing 97 countries worldwide.
EAN codes are often referred to as EAN UCC codes, because the numbers issued to American companies are governed by the Uniform Code Council.