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.  Do they allow used books, or new only? Are
hardcovers OK, or do they only accept paperbacks? How many books can we send? Are any
subjects prohibited? Prison restrictions change all the time, so we appreciate any updates.
We can no longer do ‘prior approval’.

Just list the subjects or types of books you’re interested in, not specific book titles or
authors. We do not have a catalog, because all of our books are donated, and change every
week. We generally have plenty of non-fiction, including books on history, politics, science,
natural history, prison, psychology, LGBTQ topics, how-to guides, and more. We also
have lots of fiction, including African American, Latinx, and Native American titles.

Many of these book topics are in high demand, and we can run out of them quickly – so please be sure to list any and all topics you are interested in. We will always do our best to send you 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 not carry law books, legal guides, Bibles or Christian literature.  Because of postage fees, we also have to limit the weight of the packages we
send. We will not send racist, sexist, or homophobic material.

Here are our complete ordering guidelines in PDF format:   PrisonLiteratureOrderingGuidelinesJan2021

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.