Prisoners Literature Project

Requesting Books?

How To Request Books

If you know a U.S. prisoner who’d like to request books from the Prisoners Literature Project, here’s all the info they’ll need:

Mail all book requests to:
Prisoners Literature Project
c/o Bound Together Books
1369 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

We only accept book requests by mail.  Because we want to help as many prisoners as possible, please limit your requests to once a year, and share the books with friends after you’ve read them.  And be sure to check out these ordering guidelines:

Please be patient.  We are all volunteers, and generally two to four months behind in responding to your requests.  Take this time into account if you’re going to be transferred or paroled, etc.

Let us know your prison’s book restrictions.  Is there a maximum amount of books they allow to be shipped at one time? Do they allow used books, or new only?  Are hardcovers OK, or do they only accept paperbacks?

Just list the subjects or types of books you’re interested in.  Our books are donated, and change every week — so the more choices you give us, the easier it will be for us to find a good match for your requests.  Though we cannot find specific books or authors, we do our very best to send you something close to what you ask for.

Please write clearly — especially your name, ID number, and address.  Include all this info on both the envelope and in your letter.

We don’t offer legal advice, and we don’t have a pen pal service.  We don’t send books to Texas; if you’re incarcerated there, contact the Inside Books Project in Austin. 

IMPORTANT:  We do NOT have the following kinds of books:  law books and legal guides; romances; horror; Bibles and Christian literature.

We have very few thrillers, mysteries, westerns, and sci-fi novels.  If you request any of these kinds of books, be sure to request other kinds, as well.

We DO have books on the following subjects — and more! — and would be glad to send them to you for free:  

History; Literature (novels, poetry, mythology); Politics; Philosophy; Psychology/Self-Help; Science and Math; African-American, Latino, and Native American fiction and nonfiction.  

If you prefer fiction by/about people of color, please let us know.  We try to keep dictionaries in stock, but occasionally run out of them.  Unfortunately, we rarely have almanacs.


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. 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: Summer 2021 update
Aug 2021

We wanted to update you all on the post-pandemic status of the Prisoners Literature Project.

A PLP ‘thank you’ – bead art!
Apr 2021

Here’s some wonderful bead art sent to us, as a ‘thank you’ from an incarcerated person receiving books from the PLP.

Honoring Black History Month at the PLP
Feb 2021

February is Black History Month, and the Prisoners Literature Project is honoring the month by updating our book wishlist with a host of titles themed around the month.