Given Apple's repair quality problems, consider omitting AppleCare and paying for a credit card extended warrantee. Then do repairs at one of these places.
One need not pay Apple $1000 to have a 12' Al Book fixed. I've done business with pbparts.com and powerbookguy.com and both have replacement screens for well under $500. They can both also do the replacement for you.
At the risk of ruining his chance to get a free (?) PowerBook, Apple is not the only repair option. DT&T Service in California, for instance, will repair the display for $550.
Other third-party service companies such as PowerBookResQ, TechRestore and PowerBook Medic are also worth checking out.
In response to Chris Halaska; Wegener Media quotes $479 to replace a 12 inch AlBook screen or only $399 for DIY install of the screen module. Cheaper than a Mac Mini. I've purchased LCD modules from them before, and they've arrived well packed and intact to me in Australia.