correction. if u can live w/ 30GB and are interested in the 12", amazon has them for $999 w/ a $100 rebate and free shipping. i got my rebate inside of 4 weeks.
i also didn't have to pay 4 taxes.
the base 12" w/ edu discount is 899 but lacks a combo drive. it's only a CD-ROM. the combo drive version is $949. for me after taxes, the machine thru apple would have come to $1018. thru amazon i got mine for $899 + $23 for 2nd day air, $922 total.
from what i've checked on the rebate covers the edu discount + tax difference and gives u a better price. if u r sold on the 12" but want a larger drive then a BTO thru apple is your best choice. if the base 12" will fly, go amazon. if the 14" combo or superdrive versions appeal to u, go amazon. hope this helps.
btw, the ibook 500mhz is a g3 right? the G3s are the ones w/ the bad track record w/ the logicboard failure.