If the long, snaking line at the 49er Shops Bookstore didn’t improve student’s moods, the new textbook organizational system was an added irritation for new and returning students at Long Beach State during the first week of school.
The system now organizes textbooks by the author’s last name and book title as opposed to the old method that categorized books by their corresponding class.
According to Jared Ceja, director of the Bookstore Division, the initial purpose of the revision was to mimic what students see when shopping online. Additionally the new process would save space, speed up the web ordering process and assure that students get the exact textbook needed for any class,.
“We did go in knowing that it wouldn’t be met with unanimous praise,” Ceja said. “But we were reassured by our colleagues in the industry that the benefits far weighed the costs of time.”
Music major Juan Perez waited in the bookstore line for 40 minutes on Monday and thought the new system was not beneficial to his shopping experience.
“They should have really just left it by the subjects because it just makes everything easy on the files,” Perez said. “Right now it was just hectic; I see a lot of people lost — not just myself. They were just [walking] back and forth.”
Bookstore employee and theater major Ashley Antonio felt the alphabetical organization made it difficult for students to find their classes efficiently.
“I liked it better when it was by class because every student remembers the classes they’re taking more than they remember the specific book name, let alone the author,” Antonio said.
Her main concern is that if any of the university websites such as MyCSULB or Beachboard were to be under maintenance or not functional — like Beachboard was on Monday — students would not be able to access syllabi for the author’s name unless they had previously printed it out.
“Sometimes if you don’t know any information of the book, they can’t really help you in Information with what book you need which kind of sucks,” Antonio said. “It’s just like a waiting game.”
Without MyCSULB, students would only be able to access a list of their textbooks by going directly to the csulb.verbacompare.com and inputting their specific classes into the search bar.
Ceja anticipated resistance from not only students, but faculty and staff due to the perceived inconvenience of the system.
“To be perfectly frank, I’d say we’ve probably had about four actual complaints [from faculty] or ones that have suggested that maybe it wasn’t the right move,” Ceja said. “We’ve heard everything from, ‘The change makes sense’ to, ‘I hope you change back.’”
Ceja said that some faculty found the arrangement made it inconvenient to easily find the same textbooks as other faculty in the same subject.
“We know that the sorting technique is not flawless but we do truly feel like the pros outweigh the cons, particularly for the student shopping experience,” he said.
Health major Isabel Soto was confused by the system, saying she initially thought the books were still organized by class.
“I would prefer the old way because it’s easier — you know your classes,” she said. “I think by having your books set up by the author just makes it difficult because [the books] are scattered.”
Although there are no immediate plans to change the order of textbooks, Ceja said that the bookstore is always “in a constant cycle of collecting feedback.”
“Please let us help you,” he said. “We want to be there to support you; we want to be able to show you the new system and make sure that it’s as good a shopping experience as it possibly can be.”
To watch our Campus Voices’ video on the issue, click the video below.