Prisoners Literature Project


There are three main ways that you can donate to the Prisoners Literature Project: donating money, buying books from our wishlist, and donating books to us directly.  Here’s how you can do each of these:

Donate Money To The PLP!

At the Prisoners Literature Project, we’re all volunteers, but average postage on a book package runs more than $3.50.  We currently send out more than 200 book packages to prisoners each week — which means we spend almost $3,000 every month just for postage.  In short: Every dollar counts.  We need to increase our funding to catch up with our backlog of book requests – both paying for postage, and for buying special requests (included much-needed dictionaries) for prisoners.

Think of it this way:

A single $25 donation will get much-needed books to seven U.S. prisoners.  A recurring payment of $10 a month will get books to three prisoners every month, or nearly 40 packages – about 120 books – across an entire year.

Please consider donating via PayPal today – & you can set up recurring payments via this page:


You can also make checks payable to the Prisoners Literature Project and mail them to Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA  94117.

Buy ‘Most Wanted’ Books From Our Wishlist!

Some books are always in high demand at the Prisoners Literature Project – especially dictionaries, small business how-tos, and ‘learning a trade’ manuals.  We just can’t get enough of these books to meet the constant requests.

We’d really appreciate some help here.  Instead of donating money  (see above!) or donating your own books (see below!), you can now buy these books for us via our Powell’s wishlist.  Buy a book!  Any title you purchase from our wishlist will be sent directly to someone behind bars.  You’ll never find a more grateful reader.

Donate Your Own Unwanted Books!

For anyone local to the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ll gladly accept in-person donations of any good quality books.  We can use any good quality books. Those that aren’t suitable to send  directly to prisoners can be put to use in several other ways that will benefit the PLP.  We always need paperbacks in good condition to pass on to prisons.  Nice hardbacks are also useful — especially larger, modern textbooks in current editions and other quality books.

The most common book requests from prisoners are for:

dictionaries of all kinds (including ASL sign language); thesauruses, almanacs, GED test prep materials, and other paperback reference books
how-to books: drawing, origami, chess, construction, gardening, etc.
– books on African-American, Latino, and Native American history and culture
– books on politics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, science, mathematics
fiction by or about people of color
classic literature (in English or Spanish)
– books on meditation, yoga, and bodyweight exercises

Book donations to the PLP are welcome at any of these locations.  Please write “PLP” on the bag or box of books, so others know the books are intended for us:

Moe’s Books (2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704)  [Please write “PLP” on the bag or box of books!]
Grassroots House (2022 Blake St (off Shattuck Ave), Berkeley, CA 94704)  Best to drop books off during our Wednesday or Sunday meetings; if you need to, you can also leave them on our porch.
Bound Together Books (1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, 94117)  Hours are 11.30am to 7.30pm daily but call ahead [415 – 431-8355] to check someone will be there.

Please try to give us ‘any good book’ and try to stick to donations that are at least 30-50% the kind of books that we recommend above – we sometimes get inundated by ‘leftover’ books and they get a bit difficult to manage! You can also donate books and other items in the PLP’s name to Community Thrift Store on Valencia St. in SF, and we will benefit.

If you’re outside of the Bay Area, you’re welcome to use our BookMooch account to give us books or points – or please contact us if you would like to mail us a book donation. And please note that we also accept donations of shipping supplies such as U.S. postal stamps, transparent packing tape, and large manila envelopes (at least 9 x 12 inch; no padding).

About the Prisoners Literature Project

The Prisoners Literature Project is an all-volunteer grassroots group that sends hundreds of free book packages to needy prisoners in the United States every month.

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
Special PLP session: come help us on MLK Jr. Day (Jan 15th!)
Jan 2018

ANNOUNCE: the Prisoners Literature Project will be holding a special book picking/packing session on MLK Jr. Day (Monday, January 15th!) from 10am to 5pm.

New York’s pilot program blocks ‘books to prisoners’ programs
Jan 2018

New York State is piloting a program which only allows a few prison-industrial complex ‘approved vendors’ – which have a limited, unhelpful set of full-priced books – to send packages to prisoners.

PLP volunteer sessions: still running through the holiday!
Dec 2017

Our volunteer sessions are running all the way through the holiday, including Xmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (both Sundays!) and Wednesday 27th, for anyone who’d like to come and help us pick/pack books for prisoners.