The Rise of Bookpal and it’s Leader

A quiet confidence, intense determination in his eyes, soft-spoken, stylish—and of course, fit–but contrasted by a little “computer-geekish” curiosity, Tony DiCostanzo is the successful President and Founder of Bookpal based in Irvine, California.

Representing the next level of business leader by focusing on his entire self, he is a dramatic departure from the age-old entrepreneurs’ approach of outworking the competition coupled with unceasing professional development.

In contrast, Tony continually develops his ability to develop (or rather his capacity thereof) so that leadership, strategy, creativity, and financial performance come more easily by caring for his body through exercise, nutrition and managing his downtime.

Which isn’t to say that Tony doesn’t work hard.

He simply believes in working at a capacity which is more efficient, focused and productive then most of the people around him. 

In his own words, “Eight hours is plenty of time in a day to [run a business].”  Of course, for him, running a company isn’t enough, he is also a contributing author for Forbes.

To summarize Tony’s company description, BookPal serves books to schools and the corporate world much like Amazon serves them to consumers.

Through creative discovery he continues to carve out more of the juicy little niche’ BookPal serves to and leverages the nimble abilities of his small organization, to take away chunks of business from his larger competitors. And it’s working:  BookPal has been listed in the Inc. 5000 fastest growing businesses companies list for years! 

Getting there certainly wasn’t easy; although, today, Tony makes it appear like a “walk in the park.”

While getting his MBA from the University of California, Irvine, Tony to was working full time in the strategic planning department Disney.  After a few years of toiling away on complex spreadsheets and analysis, he was recruited to help turn around a failing healthcare business.

tony-discostanzo-ropes-bwAfter two years of extensive travel and the compounding effects of stress, Tony decided the entrepreneurial path might actually be the easier one. He and his wife had two young children at home and he realized precious time with them was slipping away.

In 2005 he ventured out on his own and began building a healthcare business along with what would later become BookPal.

After selling the healthcare company in 2007, Tony prioritized family and welcomed a third child in 2008. It was during this downtime that he realized BookPal which was focused on a few self care guides and health books could be a lot more.

The dominating book sellers, Borders, Barnes and Noble and Amazon were very consumer focused, so the market was missing a company to serve the needs of business and educational customers.

Fast-forward to today, and BookPal continues its rapid growth, selling to school systems in all fifty states with sort of a “Google-esque” culture.  As with all businesses, the strength of that culture is a leading indicator to success.

Tony-DiCostanzo-Deadlift-bwBecause of that, Tony puts a tremendous amount of effort into having a level of balance very unique to an entrepreneur.  It’s a part of his practical nature:

“Being a father of three, I really value that family time… . it’s important to have time with the kids when they’re young because they really value the relationship, says DiCostanzo.”

Much of his ability to handle stress he attributes to Stark.  “I want to be the best person I can be at the office and at home [and] treat employees with respect, which means I’m not stressed out.

My job certainly has its challenges, and I find that my workouts of three times a week is a tremendous stress reliever, and a break from the intensity of my work life.”

Initially coming to Stark via a Google search for a solution to back pain, he read that the Chiropractor and Trainer work together.

Within a short amount of time, his day-to-day back issues from a car accident were eliminated altogether which lead to continued personal training.

“I was working with a trainer from “24.”  I didn’t expect the training results would differ from one trainer to another.  [In my mind] a trainer is a trainer.

The results I experienced were substantially different. 

  • The intensity levels and sophistication of the workout routines were a lot more advanced.
  • The same benefits, which took an hour and a half to two, were accomplished in forty-five minutes.
  • I had intended to go back to “24” but didn’t realize that Stark would be so much better just from a training standpoint, explains DiCostanzo.


Pay close attention to the e-commerce headlines for BookPal.

All who know Tony well expect big things in the upcoming years.

Tony’s blog on Forbes.com is a great resource for insights on entrepreneurship and business books.