Prisoners Literature Project


A photo of volunteers answering letters at PLP

​​There are three ways that you can support the Prisoners Literature Project: donate money, buy books from our wish lists, and donate books to us directly.  

Donate money/items

The average postage on a book package runs more than $4.00. We currently send out more than 250 book packages to incarcerated folks each week, which means we spend almost $5,000 every month just for postage. 

A one-time $25 donation pays to send much-needed books to seven incarcerated individuals. A recurring payment of $10 a month supports sending books to three incarcerated people every month, or nearly 40 packages—about 120 books—across an entire year.

Please click here to donate via PayPal today. If you’d like to set up a recurring donation, simply click the “monthly donation” button when you donate using PayPal.

You can also send a check, made payable to the Prisoners Literature Project, and mailed to Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117.

[Also, if you live in San Francisco or are willing to travel there, you can donate any kind of good quality unwanted stuff to the Community Thrift Store in person, saying they are for the benefit of Prisoners Literature Project. We’ll get the proceeds after they are sold!]

Buy books

Some often-requested books require special ordering by the PLP, especially books about drawing, homesteading, Wicca, tiny houses, trade skills, domestic violence and many other topics. We simply can’t get enough high-quality donated books to meet the level of requests for these topics.

You can buy these books for us via our Amazon wish list. Our wish lists occasionally change based on incoming requests so please bookmark and revisit our most-requested books.

We also have wish lists with Bay Area bookshops that we encourage you to peruse and use!

Books Inc.

East Bay Booksellers

Green Apple Books

Pegasus Books

Banter Bookshop

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

Donate books

Due to COVID-19, our donation policies are currently in flux, and many of our donation drop-off points are closed. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please text some photos of the books you would like to donate to PLP volunteer Bruno at 510 434 6284. He can advise if we currently need what you have and where you can drop them off.

Please note that prisons are increasingly particular about book quality, with many accepting only new and paperback books. We also need specific types of paperback books most frequently: reference books including dictionaries and current almanacs, how-to manuals, small business and self-help books, fiction by and about people of color, and books on meditation, yoga, and bodyweight exercises. 

Please understand that we cannot accept used books in poor condition and must be fairly selective. Think about your possible donation this way: if you think a bookstore would buy the books from you, and they fit our general genre requirements, then they may be in the right condition to donate to the PLP.

Donor thanks

We’ve received so many unexpected gifts from a variety of folks. Your tax-deductible contributions make our work possible! Abiding gratitude to our generous donors who contributed at several levels of support, including innumerable individuals and many foundations.

Up to $10,000
Alice Shaver Foundation
East Bay Community Foundation
Floret Coalition
Jeld Charitable Foundation

Up to $5,000
Matthew Davis
Charles Wong
Hull Foundation
West Builders

Up to $2,000
Matt Vieyra
Nikola Filby
Michael Tong
Cultskin Apothecary Inc.
Elena Moser and Janet Linder

$500 – $999
Stuart Foundation
Tracy Anderson
Nidhi Handa
Jongmin Baek
Kristen Taketa
Fernando Pastor
Zoe Moore
Joenel Johnson
Zachary Dooley
Benjamin Drachman
Christina Honde
Elizabeth Roberts
Kelly Notaras
Chloe Grossman
Alison McDonald
Jenna Rentz
Rolf Mueller
Christopher Kenney
Allen Kanner

We enjoyed support from more than 590 individuals who, in addition to our major donors, gave more than $40,000 to our efforts, both in one-time and monthly recurring donations, and to whom we are so appreciative.

Our work is not possible without individuals and organizations that donate books from our wish lists. More than 390 individuals and organizations bought more than $50,000 worth of books from our wish lists in 2021. We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary and necessary support.

Prisoners Literature Project is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN# 87-2253705

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
Double your impact for Independent Bookstore Day 2024!
Apr 2024

Independent Bookstore Day 2024 is your big opportunity to support local booksellers and stock up on new selections for yourself — and once again, for PLP as well.

What kinds of books do people ask for?
Apr 2024

The most common requests are for genre fiction (thrillers, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, etc), self-help, business, drawing, graphic novels, science, GED material, exercise, almanacs and so much more. Here is a sample of letters that volunteers responded to recently.