Prison Book Program is grateful for all of your donations! Please be sure all donated books meet the below guidelines for condition and contents prior to donating. 

Check out our online wishlists for title suggestions or to buy books directly! We update our wishlists regularly. 

For instructions on dropping books, see the donation page, or mail your books to us via media mail at 1306 Hancock Street, Suite 100, Quincy, MA 02169.

For other questions, email

Guidelines on book condition

Books must be paperback and in good condition with no water damage, limited or no highlighting or underlining, an intact spine and covers, and free of stains, mildew, etc. 

Prison Book Program accepts:

  • New and gently used paperback books with no liquid damage
  • Blank notebooks and journals
  • Calendars for the current year
  • Self-published books written for people in prison
  • Advance reading and review copies
Please do not donate the following: 
  • Books with any liquid damage, broken spines, or other signs of poor condition
  • Yellowed or brittle old books
  • Hardcovers, except in our highest-demand categories, which are bolded below
  • Spiral or comb-bound books
  • Magazines, CDs, or DVDs
  • 10+ copies of any one book except in our highest-demand categories
  • True crime
  • Kids books

Most needed genres and topics


  • Reentry guides and books specific to people in prison
  • Trade skills
    • Auto mechanics, electrical, CDL licensing, carpentry, plumbing, etc.
    • Farming, beekeeping, homesteading, living off the land, gardening
  • Hobbies
    • Coloring books
    • Art, especially how to draw
    • Crafts, especially crocheting, origami, making cards
    • Crossword puzzles, word search, sudoku
    • Guitar instruction and books about current music and musicians (rap, hip hop, rock, pop)
  • Games and sports
  • Language dictionaries and grammar books (especially Spanish, American Sign Language, Japanese)
  • Business
    • How to start a small business or nonprofit 
    • Real estate
    • Stocks and investing 
    • Personal finance
  • Mental and physical health
    • Sexual abuse, trauma, addiction
    • Exercise (yoga, weight lifting, etc.)
    • Medical dictionaries, general health guides, and books about specific health conditions
    • Cookbooks and nutrition information
    • Avoid diet books, out of date health books, or pseudoscience
  • Religion and occult
    • Non-mainstream religion, including Wicca, paganism, Kabbalah
    • Occult, including spirits, dreams, tarot, astrology, UFOs
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Bible dictionaries and concordances
  • LGBTQ nonfiction and memoirs – check out our special wishlist here!
  • Reference books
    • Paperback almanacs, atlases,  dictionaries, thesauri, Guinness Book of World Records
    • Avoid large, heavy hardbacks and sets of encyclopedias
  • Computers and technology
    • Basic applications and programming, mobile technology
    • Avoid computer books over 5 years old
  • Law
    • Legal dictionaries, legal writing, and basic criminal or Constitutional law
    • Criminal or civil procedure
    • Legal resources specifically for people in prison (Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual)
    • Avoid law journals and attorney-level legal reference
    • Avoid non-criminal law, such as divorce, bankruptcy
  • Study guides and accessible paperback textbooks
    • GED or HiSET study guides
    • Avoid GRE and grad-school level prep books
    • Avoid college literature compilations and anthologies, or academic journals
    • Avoid textbooks more than 4 years old, obscure subjects, teacher guides, or textbook supplements
  • Nonfiction by Black, Hispanic, or Indigenous authors


  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Mysteries and thrillers
  • Vampire or horror (such as Stephen King)
  • LGBTQ fiction
  • Manga, graphic novels, comic books 
  • Westerns
  • Myths, legends, fairy tales
  • Poetry
  • Fiction by Black, Hispanic, or Indigenous authors
  • Books in Spanish
  • Avoid beach reads or other books targeted exclusively toward women