Prisoners Literature Project

Request Books

Incarcerated individuals seeking to request books from the PLP should mail requests to:

Prisoners Literature Project
c/o Bound Together Books
1369 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

We only accept book requests by mail. Because we want to help as many people as possible, we ask incarcerated folks to please limit requests to once every nine months, and to share the books with friends after reading. We have a few other ordering guidelines:

– Please be patient. We are all volunteers, and we are 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.

– Let us know the prison’s book restrictions. Are used books allowed, or new only? Are hardcovers OK, or does the facility only accept paperbacks? How many books can we send? Are any subjects prohibited? We do keep records, but given that prison restrictions change all the time, we appreciate any updates. 

– List subjects or types of books of interest, not specific book titles or authors. We do not have a catalog, because almost all of our books are donated and change every week. We generally have books on history, politics, science, natural history, prison, self-help and psychology, LGBTQ topics, and how-to guides. We also have literary and genre fiction, including African American, Latinx, and Native American titles. Many of these book topics are in high demand, and we can run out 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 and include name, ID number, and address on both the envelope and in your letter.

– We do not offer legal advice, and we don’t have a pen pal service.

– We do not send books to Texas. If you are incarcerated in Texas, contact the Inside Books Project in Austin.  

Please note: We do 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, or books promoting harmful conspiracy theories.

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
Banned Books Week 2022 – #BeatThePrisonBookBan
Sep 2022

Banned Books week (Sept. 18-24) is upon us once again.  Books to prisoners groups such as PLP  contend with the reality of book banning and restrictions every day in the course of our efforts to get reading material into the hands of eager incarcerated people. 

PLP Thank You Letters — Summer 2022
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Wow! This is a particularly great batch of letters we’ve received recently. It is our good fortune to have such appreciative book recipients and readers.

A photo of volunteers answering letters at PLP
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Find out more about volunteer sessions in our new space!