Get Involved: Donate Books

Special message from Books to Prisoners: Effective immediately, we request that you consider making a financial donation rather than a donation of books.

Thanks to many generous donors such as yourself, we are currently at capacity for books (with some exceptions made for the categories listed in the blue box below). To ensure that our clients can be most effectively served, please consider carefully whether your donation will be a good match with their requests and with the common restrictions on books being mailed to prisoners.

Unsure whether your donation will be a good match? Start here!

  • Check the condition. Many prisons require “good condition books” and will return other books. Covers must be intact, all pages should be attached to the spine of the book, and if possible, pages should be relatively free of writing and highlighting.
  • Check the binding and inserts. Prisoners are unable to receive books that include spiral bindings, CDs, DVDs, or extra materials attached to pages (such as pop-up books). Please note: we are only able to accept paperback fiction books (hardcover non-fiction books are okay!).
  • Check the date. Prisoners love to keep up-to-date as much as everyone else! For many who are incarcerated, books are their best sources of information about the world. If you are considering making a donation of books about politics, current events, travel, or technology, please keep this in mind and make plans to donate recently published books.
  • Check the content. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept donations of romance novels, encyclopedias, children’s books, books including instructions about obtaining or creating alcohol or drugs, books including pictures with nudity, instructions on tying knots or picking locks, or training in martial arts and hypnosis.

If you would still like to donate books, or have any questions about making book donations, please contact the email address below before shipping to ensure that we have space.

Please consider donating $35 with each box of books that you donate, to help us mail your books to prisoners in need. Our true postage cost for mailing a box full of wrapped book packages is approximately $70/box, so your matching donation goes a long way!

Contact bookstoprisoners @ live (dot) com to arrange donations

Thank you again for your consideration and generosity!

Our most commonly requested books:

Also take a peek at our current wish list of infrequently donated items

  • Dictionaries
  • Thesauruses
  • Legal self help
  • Spanish books (including Spanish-English dictionaries)
  • American Sign Language dictionaries
  • Drawing instruction
  • Games and crafts (including chess, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, origami, and role-playing manuals)
  • Vocational instruction (e.g., welding, plumbing, carpentry)
  • Starting a business
  • GED preparation books
  • African-American non-fiction and fiction
  • True crime
  • Paperback genre fiction: thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, and horror
  • Books on the occult, aliens, conspiracy theories, and New Age books
  • Blank journals