Co-op to begin shelving books alphabetically

Eunice Ali

The University Co-op main store on Guadalupe Street will be shelving textbooks alphabetically by the first author’s last name, instead of by class title, for the fall semester.

Michael Kiely, the Co-op’s director of course materials, said shelving books by class was “very inefficient.”

“A lot of courses here at UT are cross-listed," Kiely said.

Under the old system, the Co-op put the same set of books in multiple places in the store. Kiely said books would run out in one class but still be available in another, causing confusion.

According to Kiely, the Co-op decided to reachout to other campuses and visited the Brigham Young University Bookstore, which sorts its books alphabetically by author.

“Prior to this year, we had really big tags that were hard to read,” said Kristen Hilbert, the Co-op’s director of e-commerce. Hilbert said the new tag would only list the author’s name, the book’s title, new price, used price and rental price – the class won’t be listed.

“Our dream would be to have electronic tags,” she said.

Hilbert, a UT alumna, said the store now has a large area for computers and printers where students can print out their reading lists, an idea also adapted from the BYU store.

When it comes to price competition, Hilbert said the Co-op strives to be “transparent” through its online price comparison system – accessible from the class listing on the University’s website – which compares the Co-op’s in-store prices to other sellers’ online prices. In some cases, the Co-op has also successfully negotiated with publishers to get specialized editions for UT students with significantly lower prices, she said.

Darren Jones, manager of the Co-op’s east location on Medical Arts Street, said his store will wait to see how the main store handles the change and continue shelving books by class for the fall semester.