A Change Unwanted? The Bookstore’s New ABC System

The new ordering system has confused many upperclassmen.

Everything is susceptible to change. Sometimes that change may be for the better. As students at North Dakota State, many of us are aware that change is common on campus. Although it may not be wanted, sometimes that change is for the better. This semester the bookstore has made a change and, although the change has been great for the bookstore’s textbook department, it isn’t well loved by students.

“It took me much longer to find my books this year. And since we didn’t receive much information, I was unaware that the books would be alphabetized by author, so when I had a textbook with multiple authors it became even more difficult to find,” Nicole Mlsna, a fifth-year nursing student, said.

This fall semester has been the first semester with the “ABC style” textbook organization in the lower level of the bookstore on campus. This has been a huge switch from the original organization by department and class. Assistant Director of Course Materials and Academic Resources, Brent Seewald-Marquardt, explained how many universities are moving from organization by course to an “alpha by author” organization system. The change was made to save money through reducing labor and resource costs. By using this new alphabetized system, the staff was able to cut down on shelving space and keep one particular book in one area instead of having the same book located in multiple departments.

Student Government was notified of the potential change and, through conversation and a focus group, decided to proceed with the plan. However, most students don’t seem to appreciate this decision.

Students were sent an email right before school started notifying them that the bookstore would now be operating on an “ABC” system. However, with school starting up again, it is easy for these messages to be buried in a mess of “ANNOUNCEment Listserv” emails that few seem to really take the time to read. So many students were blindsided when they headed downstairs to grab their materials.

“I am an HDFS major, so I bought a lot of my books off Amazon, but I had to buy two books from the bookstore,” Halle Rygg, a senior at NDSU, said. “Both of these books didn’t have authors so I didn’t know where to look, and when I went to the staff they helped me locate it, but they didn’t seem sure as to where the books would be exactly.” She wasn’t alone in wishing that the staff was a little more helpful.

“There wasn’t enough staff that knew the new layout during the first couple days of classes which caused a lot of congestion downstairs with too many confused people,” Cole Jungberg, a communications major, said. “A lot of kids in my major weren’t fans, but I can see how it will be more efficient once people get used to it.”

After gathering information over the first two busy days of the semester, staff noticed that, even though there was confusion, there was also less congestion at the online order site downstairs, Assistant Director Seewald-Marquart had much less traffic at his desk and there weren’t as many students that ended up purchasing the wrong book. “The end goal is that students will be able to print their book list and find their materials quickly,” Seewald-Marquart said when expressing why this will be better not only for staff but students as well in the semesters to come. The feedback has been mainly positive, and it is obvious to the staff which students are the freshman and which are upperclassmen that are adjusting to something new.

“It’s fine I guess,” NDSU transfer student Steve Warne said when asked about the alphabetical organization. “As a new student, the change didn’t bother me because I didn’t have to adjust.”

Yes, both staff and students will need a little time to adjust, but this is the case with all big changes. The staff is now able to reload shelves quicker, condense the space used by textbooks and help students to print and understand material lists. This change may not be our favorite right away, but hopefully, by next semester, the process will run smoother for us upperclassmen.

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