The man in the driver's seat is Eric Verlo, 42, owner of The Bookman used-book store on the city's west side and Toons Music & Film downtown.
bought the truck a year and a half ago as a way to advertise his
bookstore and deliver free books to young- sters.
"I've always found it a lot easier to give away books than to sell them," he
said with a grin.
In the summertime, kids playing in the Uncle Wilber fountain downtown run, icecream-truck-style, for the bookmobile when they see it approaching.
At Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City, strangers have been known to throw more money in the parking meter for Verlo
hands out books.
The brilliantly colored van has been spotted in front of the Manitou Arts Theater, at public library events, at parades and at fairs.
makes many rounds, he
says the Red Cross Child Enrichment Center
The center "is the nicest place, the most rewarding place, because you feel like the kids don't have books," he
also takes stuffed animals for the kids.
Leaning against the wall of the center on a recent Friday, Verlo
seems content to stand back and let the children pick out their favorites.
"I kind of experience some excitement for things improving for them," he
said one woman, who prefers not to be named, spends time scouring garage sales for books to donate to the van.
two businesses, which have been open for 13 years, have been struggling lately due to the economy and competition from retail chain stores, he
Although the van is an attention grabber, it hasn't boosted sales.
says, "It's generated good will."
Packing up his
crates at the Red Cross center, Verlo
doesn't seem fazed by his
plans to continue driving the van and will expand his
routes if he's
asked to visit organizations or attend events.
The payoff, he
says, "is kids running out, and they're already screaming and yelling, 'I get a book!'"