Get Involved: Donate Money

Incarcerated people face significant barriers to being able to access books. The United States continues to lock up millions of citizens without providing adequate support for prison education or prison libraries. In April 2016, one prison librarian in southern California reported a shortage of 20,000 books in the prison’s library due to budget cuts. And that’s the shortage at just one prison. This country currently runs more than 4,000 prisons.

Even in relatively well-funded prisons, many inmates are kept in solitary confinement or on “lockdown”, two common situations which prevent individuals from accessing the library for months on end. Unless mailed directly from an online vendor like Amazon, family members and friends are restricted from mailing books to their loved ones. Many families of prisoners are unable to purchase books to mail; some prisoners have been incarcerated so long that they no longer have connections to the outside. From budget cuts to restrictive housing units to poverty and isolation…

People in prisons need our help now more than ever before.


Books to Prisoners will receive more than 12,000 requests for books this year; each package of books sent to a prisoner costs $3-$4 to mail. We need your support to connect prisoners with these vital tools for education, self-empowerment, and comfort.

Books to Prisoners is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers, with the exception of one part-time program coordinator whose salary is provided entirely by grant money. All individual donations go directly to Books to Prisoners’ operating costs, which include purchases of postage, mailing supplies, and frequently requested books.

In 2015, 83% of our income went toward postage, mailing supplies, and book purchases. Money raised from individual donations and fundraising events was proportionate with our postage costs.  (note: income and expenses exclude our part-time staffer, a position funded by a non-recurring settlement grant)


The donation you make today will send books directly to somebody who is living behind bars.

  • $25 sends packages of books to seven people
  • $100 provides postage for an entire day of requests for books
  • $500 provides dictionaries (our #1 request) to 100 incarcerated individuals

On behalf of our volunteers, and on behalf of the inmates we serve: thank you for your help. Your donation makes the difference in somebody’s life.

Donors contributing over $200 receive a free t-shirt! Follow this link for details.

Please make checks payable to Books to Prisoners:

Books to Prisoners
c/o Left Bank Books
92 Pike Street, Box A,
Seattle, WA 98101

Donations can also be made, in cash or by check, at Left Bank Books during store hours!

It’s also easy to make a donation with a credit card by using PayPal:


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