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Bookstore Implements Frustrating Changes

By James Trent
On February 15, 2018
This semester, the campus bookstore drastically changed the way they organize textbooks, and it has led to a lot of new confusion and frustration. 
For time in memoriam, the bookstore organized its textbooks according to subject and class number. If you wanted to buy your textbooks at the store, all you needed to know was your subject and course number. You would walk over to the subject, find your book, and check out. You could even double-check right there, since the class professor was listed underneath the textbook.
This semester, however, the bookstore decided to organize the textbooks according to author, the least relevant or commonly known information about textbooks, especially to a student. A student taking a Biology 101 course is almost assuredly not going to know, off the top of their heads, who wrote the 10th edition of “Biology.” The edition of “Biology” this semester’s Biology 101 course requires has five different authors, as a point of interest. 
Imagine if a supermarket was organized by brand name. From the entrance the entire supermarket was alphabetized by brands, beginning with “A” on the left all the way to “Z” on the right. Let’s say someone wanted to buy a shovel. They would have to know or look up a shovel brand (not just go to “S” for shovel). Let’s say they find an Ames shovel in the “A” section. After a few minutes, they realize it won’t work for the job they need done, and they want to look at other shovels. Now they must look up another brand and walk all the way over to the other side of the store. The new bookstore is like this. It is the least efficient way for a student to find their textbooks, and it becomes frustrating and tedious fast.
Organizing books by author is not inherently insane. Libraries use this standard. The difference, however, is that a library has a reliable database; furthermore, people do not have to pay $150 to borrow a library book. Actual bookstores, where the expectation is that most visitors are not looking for a specific book, organize their books by genre, or subject, and then alphabetize names. If you want a mystery, there will be a mystery section for you. With this new system, if a student needs a business textbook, it is anyone’s guess as to where to look.
The bookstore’s website has a page on which students can enter their Concord student ID number for a list of their textbooks, but as of right now it is unreliable. Many students have reported that it leaves off classes they know they are enrolled in, or that the list says they are not in any classes. This can be particularly agonizing if a class has more than one required text, which is not uncommon. Students are better off looking up the textbook authors beforehand like a bad, expensive grocery list.
And students can obviously do that. There is nothing stopping a student from finding out who wrote their textbook, but it is an unnecessary downgrade from the previous system. Finding a textbook before was as simple as knowing what classes you had enrolled in for the semester. Now, students can probably get their recommended exercise for the day wandering around the book store, lost and confused as they try to remember all five authors for a single course. 

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