Prisoners Literature Project


There are three main ways that you can donate to the Prisoners Literature Project: donating money, buying books from our wishlist, and donating books to us directly.  Here’s how you can do each of these:

Buy ‘Most Wanted’ Books From Our Special Requests!

This is our most wished-for option during the COVID-19 crisis. Some books require special ordering at the Prisoners Literature Project – especially ones around drawing, homesteading, wicca, tiny houses, domestic violence & more. We just can’t get donated books to meet the requests.

We’d really appreciate some help here.  Instead of donating money  or donating your own books you can now buy these books for us via our wishlist.  Buy a book!  Any title you purchase from our wishlist will be sent directly to someone behind bars.  You’ll never find a more grateful reader.

(If you’d prefer to use another wishlist from a local bookstore, we have a Pegasus Books wishlist  or Books Inc. that you’re welcome to use!)

If you’re local to the Bay Area you can also purchase books in person at these fine bookstores who have dedicated shelf space to promote our program.  We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with these local booksellers.

Donate Money To The PLP!

At the Prisoners Literature Project, we’re all volunteers, but average postage on a book package runs more than $4.00.  We currently send out more than 250 book packages to prisoners each week — which means we spend almost $5,000 every month just for postage.  In short: Every dollar counts.  We need to increase our funding to catch up with our backlog of book requests – both paying for postage, and for buying special requests (included much-needed dictionaries) for prisoners.

Think of it this way:

A single $25 donation will get much-needed books to seven U.S. prisoners.  A recurring payment of $10 a month will get books to three prisoners every month, or nearly 40 packages – about 120 books – across an entire year.

Please consider donating via PayPal today – & you can set up recurring payments via this page:

Prisoners Literature Project is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN# 87-2253705. [Until early 2022, we had a different EIN #: 20-3541104 – under the fiscal sponsorship of Grassroots House – and this can be used as a backup if your donor-advised fund or other provider doesn’t have us listed yet.]

You can also make checks payable to the Prisoners Literature Project and mail them to Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA  94117.

Donate Books!

[IMPORTANT COVID-19 RELATED NOTE: Most of the usual spots to donate books to the PLP are closed at this time. Unfortunately, many recent donations to our backup location have been poor quality.   (Prisons are increasingly particular about book quality with many accepting only new books.)  So if you’re interested in donating, please text Bruno first with info and/or pictures of the books: 510 434 6284. He can check the books are kinds we need, and tell you where to bring them!

However, you can donate books and other items in the PLP’s name to Community Thrift Store on Valencia St. in SF, which has recently re-opened, and we will benefit – so please consider that.]

For anyone local to the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ll normally accept in-person donations of any good quality books. We need certain types of paperbacks in good condition to pass on to prisons.  Nice hardbacks are also useful — especially larger, modern textbooks in current editions and other quality books.

The most common book requests from prisoners are for:

dictionaries of all kinds (including ASL sign language); also thesauruses,  & almanacs.
how-to books: construction, gardening, drawing, etc.
– books on African-American, Latino, and Native American history and culture
– books on business, self-help, politics, psychology, philosophy, science, mathematics
fiction by or about people of color
good quality detective, sci-fi & fantasy fiction paperbacks & Westerns 
– books on meditation, yoga, and bodyweight exercises

We sometimes get inundated by ‘leftover’ books  – please don’t donate books that secondhand book stores won’t take, or leftovers from yard sales.

Book donations to the PLP are welcome at any of these locations under normal conditions.  Please write “PLP” on the bag or box of books, so others know the books are intended for us:

Moe’s Books (2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704)  [Please write “PLP” on the bag or box of books!]
Grassroots House (2022 Blake St (off Shattuck Ave), Berkeley, CA 94704)  Best to drop books off during our Wednesday or Sunday meetings; if you need to, you can also leave them on our porch.
Bound Together Books (1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, 94117)  Hours are 11.30am to 7.30pm daily but call ahead [415 – 431-8355] to check someone will be there.

Please contact us if you would like to mail us a book donation. And please note that we also accept donations of shipping supplies such as U.S. postal stamps, transparent packing tape, and large manila envelopes (at least 9 x 12 inch; no padding).

About the Prisoners Literature Project

The Prisoners Literature Project is an inclusive, all-volunteer, grassroots nonprofit whose purpose is to encourage reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and self-determination among incarcerated people. By sending free reading materials to those behind bars, PLP aims to foster learning and critical thinking and help prepare people to lead successful lives after incarceration. We believe that all people have a right to read.

Please consider donating to the PLP or volunteering your time (if you live in the Bay Area, CA!) to help us answer letters from prisoners who write us from all over the United States.

Latest News
PLP: ways to help during the 2021 holiday season
Dec 2021

Holiday greetings from the Prisoners Literature Project. Thanks for reading, donating and supporting our mission. We’re an inclusive, all-volunteer, grassroots nonprofit whose purpose is to encourage reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and self-determination among incarcerated people. And we’re still sending out 200+ packages of books to 49 U.S. states weekly, with your help. Following our Giving Tuesday appeal (much […]

PLP needs your help this Giving Tuesday!
Nov 2021

Now that Giving Tuesday is nearly upon us, we wanted to update you all on the Prisoners Literature Project’s efforts to send books to incarcerated people throughout the U.S., and explain how we need your help.

Gratitude Poem
Nov 2021

We love getting feedback from book recipients. This arrived in the mail recently and we are sharing it here with the permission of author.