Online bookstore opens

This fall, students have a new way to buy and sell textbooks. The Mount Allison Student’s Union has recently  launched an online bookstore, which offers a forum for students to sell used books directly to one another.

The construction of the new online bookstore was organized by MASU Vice-President, Academic Affairs Ryan Harley, in collaboration with other MASU executives. The move to a virtual bookstore was prompted by a referendum last year, in which students were asked whether or not they supported a levy of seven dollars per member, in addition to the surplus funds from the previous year, which would go to website costs.

MASU had previously operated a physical sale in the student centre, where students could browse and purchase used books. The online system is more efficient in that it allows students to connect directly with each other, and provides an easy search function.

The design for the website was a collaboration between Harley, and MASU Vice-President, Communications Matthew Ranson. The site was developed by Norex Inc, a Halifax based company. The referendum marked the starting point of the website’s construction. With the budget established at the beginning of the summer, the union was able to buy a large quantity of production hours from Norex. Construction went through the summer until the final quality assurance tests were done in early August, in order to address a few final issues before its launch.

While the online bookstore was not part of the MASU’s recent rebranding initiative, Harley credited the rebranding with having opened the doors to the new developments.

“The previous website wasn’t built to last; everything had to be worked on specifically by people who knew the code. With the new website, we can do the editing through Word Press format, so it’s more accessible,” said Harley.

“I’m very happy with how it turned out. People have reacted well and there is a good up-taking,” said Harley. “Buying textbooks is a part of the student experience, everyone buys and sells books at some point in their time at Mt. A, so we tried to come up with a solution that was the most convenient, easiest for our members.”

Since the website’s launch September 6, the online bookstore has seen over 300 titles registered for resale and Harley recounts that he has received “overwhelming anecdotal support of the service.”

Second-year psychology student Laura Sponagle is pleased with the new site: “It’s a great idea, and I’m glad we have it.”

Others students remain skeptical: “I already have an online bookstore,” said third-year computer science student Benjamin Weichman, “it’s called Amazon.”

While the website has been launched, there remains a list of glitches to be addressed. Harley wished to see the bookstore in action before addressing the half-dozen necessary changes. Harley said that with the funds available, they will be able to compensate the commissioner for handling any unexpected issues that may occur in the development process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles