BetterWorldBooks, a very cool social enterprise, buys and resells books to raise funds for literacy programs around the world. Sometimes, they hit the jackpot. This happened today, when BWB finalized the sale of a rare 1848 facsimile of the Declaration of Independence that was found inside one of the books it was re-selling (unbeknownst to the original seller). The item fetched $16,000. Portions of the proceeds go to both the library (Dobbs Ferry Library at Mercy College) that sold the book and the nonprofit literacy organization (Books for Africa) that partners with the library through BWB.
The find was such a big deal in rare book circles, and such a wonderful surprise to all involved, that BWB is using the opportunity to implement a new commission structure on future sales of rare and antiquarian books.
A good news story in which the good guys (everyone, in this case) win.
By the way, another reason to love BWB is the online sidewalk sale finder - you can browse their site here to find book sales from libraries near you. Proceeds will benefit those libraries. Even as a 20-year "Friend of the SF Public Library" I'm not willing to risk bodily harm trying to get into our annual library's Big Book Sale fundraiser, so I love this functionality. I also recently recommended BWB to a Foundation library that was preparing to deaccession part of its collection - talk about "more for mission."
And one more thing - speaking of books - here's one I can't wait to get my hands on
Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People. I'm signed up for the book launch in San Francisco.