Our Purpose

800-CEO-READ exists to improve business and benefit society. We do so first and foremost by employing talented, creative individuals who know books, and who excel at getting the right books into the hands of the right people at the right time to help businesses become stronger and more successful. We help authors and publishers spread their ideas and sell their books, and we provide information, resources, and solutions online for the business community, all of which supports the betterment of individuals, individual businesses, the business world, and society as a whole—continuously and progressively.

“'I’m a book fanatic.
And my job in life is
to get people to read.’
Covert said during a conversation from his basement hideaway under Schwartz’ main shop downtown.”
—from The Milwaukee Journal, 6.30.1987

Our Oath: To provide the highest quality service, in the interest of our customer’s happiness and our own core values, while fostering a fun, collaborative working environment that is the foundation for the quality to which we are passionately committed.

Our Constitution:

  1. WE BELIEVE IN BOOKS. We believe in the book’s inherent value as a means of spreading information and culture, and we believe in the soul of the individual book—that once launched into the world, it can take on a life of its own and have a profound effect on business, our society, and culture. We believe in the book as a business model, on the publisher level, and as an individual, small business model for each author we work with.
  2. WE BELIEVE IN EACH OTHER. We believe in our co-workers. We will not always agree, but we support each other in the work we do and contribute to each other’s success—and thereby ensure the success of the entire company. We believe in the importance of a publisher’s work in society. We may not believe in every idea in every book we sell, but we believe in the free exchange of ideas and an author’s right to express theirs.
  3. WE ARE HERE TO HELP. We are a service company, and we come to work every day to help our customers and the businesses they work in. We work to help authors and publishers sell their books and spread their ideas. And, through the spreading of ideas, we work to improve the business community as a whole. And we are here to help each other, professionally and personally. We are willing and eager to support the projects and transactions of our co-workers, to act as a sounding board for each other’s ideas and a vent for their frustrations, and to serve as an advocate and support for their needs, whether in grief, in celebration, or in any daily challenge.
  4. WE ARE ALL LEADERS. As such, we take responsibility for ourselves as respectful members of the organization, and the direction and success of our own work. Self-leadership requires us to take initiative when it serves the forward progress of the company, but also to ask each other for what we need when we need it and to make suggestions and issue concerns when we sense a place for improvement. The benefit to our customers lies in our individual power to make decisions that will expedite their purchases and solve any logistical problems, as well as create a confidence in our staff as experts and independent thinkers.
  5. WE COMMUNICATE, COLLABORATE, ACT—THEN, COMMUNICATE AGAIN. Whether working with a customer or with a co-worker, we will remember that silence creates barriers while communication creates avenues. Our decision-making process relies on each of us to talk through the facts and potential sticking points of any challenge, identify and engage the people who can help us develop the project or solve the problem, and then take action. But we must never forget to “close the circle” and inform the customer and/or the company of what action was taken. This closure prevents redundancy and uncertainty.
  6. WE CULTIVATE LASTING RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH EVERY INTERACTION. Each one of us is a link in a chain that represents both our internal company culture and our external reputation. Every interaction with each other, customers, authors, publisher representatives, publicists, or even strangers either strengthens or weakens that chain. As such, we will be deliberate in our positive and respectful communication with each person both within and outside the company, so we cultivate relationships with care.
  7. WE SAY “YES” BECAUSE WE CAN. We are a small business with big capabilities. Our flexibility and agility are what distinguish us from other booksellers. 800-CEO-READ says no to unnecessary, time-consuming bureaucracy and yes to a collaborative, lean, can-do spirit. Thanks to this spirit, we can re-calibrate our operations quickly to take on new and exciting challenges that our competitors can’t do with the same personal attention.
  8. WE WORK HARD, PLAY NICE, AND HAVE FUN. We believe in honest, hard work, for the good of the employees, customers, publishers, authors, and other agencies that depend on 800-CEO-READ for service, information, and opinion. We love our work, we take it very seriously, and we have a lot of fun doing it, and hope to transmit that enthusiasm to the customer. We treat each other and those for whom we work with respect, because we are all a part of our greater purpose.

“The real value of the book is that it allows people to change and develop, making us who we are—probers and critics, experts and enthusiasts.”
— A. David Schwartz



We've had a unique thing happening here in Milwaukee for the past three decades. We're committed to not only change with the business world and adapt to its needs, but to help change the business world in a positive way in the process. If you'd like to learn more about how we do that, don't hesitate to call us at 800-CEO-READ (800-236-7323).