March 28, 2011; Source: Austin American-Statesman | As we've seen over and over again, good intentions are no substitute for cash in these troubled economic times. As a result, Tab Barker is closing the book today in Austin on a venture he started in 2003 to sell used books online to raise money to pay for schools and supplies in Nicaragua.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that over the years, Barker's online operation, Books Beyond Borders, sold enough books to underwrite four new schools and two new water systems, as well as to support scholarships for three rural students in Nicaragua. Because of the plummeting price of books, Barker is being forced to shut down, and has been offering the remaining inventory of his books for a buck apiece.

Not only will Books Beyond Borders be a loss of funding for Project Schoolhouse, the nonprofit Barker set up to oversee his charitable work in Nicaragua, but when the store is shuttered, others in Austin and around the state will suffer too. For instance, in September 2010, Books Beyond Borders launched Stories to Go, a monthly children's book giveaway to parents and teachers. Baker also donated some 10,000 books over the past two years to Inside Books, a nonprofit that provides books and educational materials to inmates in Texas prisons.—Bruce Trachtenberg