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Portland books to Prisoners

Who We Are

Portland Books To Prisoners is an all-volunteer collective working to distribute books free of charge to prisoners. We are dedicated to offering  people behind bars the opportunities for self-empowerment, education, and entertainment that reading provides.


Portland Books To Prisoners sends literature and educational books all across the nation to people who are incarcerated.

What We Do

Incarcerated people directly send us their requests for books. We attempt to furnish the requested materials from our stock of donated books. We also sometimes send resource guides and periodicals to help prisoners locate a variety of services and prison support groups.


Why Are We Doing This?

Prison libraries tend to very limited, and access to them is often highly restricted, so outside sources of books for prisoners is often necessary.  At most prisons there are very few books available, and often what is there consists mainly of low-quality pulp fiction, like romance novels and action thrillers.


People are incarcerated for many reasons, but the vast majority are imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. There are dozens of Prison Book Programs all over the U.S., and there are often many restrictive regulations governing books sent to people who are behind bars, making it hard for relatives and friends with limited means to send books to loved ones, or for those who are incarcerated to receive relevant reading material.


The U.S. currently has over 2 million people incarcerated in state and federal prisons, two-thirds of whom are people of color. The Prison Industrial Complex is a repressive system, which we believe needs to be changed.


One thing we can do to reach out to people held prisoner in this system is to provide a few books to help folks pass the time and try to educate themselves. Please join us in this effort!


Watch a short Seattle Books To Prisoners video to learn more about what we do:




You Can Help!


Our group is looking for book donations with educational content: music, trades, hobbies, crafts, art, business, etc., and GED study guides. We also get a lot of requests for biographies and history books, especially covering African-American, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian studies.


We are accepting gently used and like-new paperback donations. Currently, we only accept hardcover books if we can sell them on eBay for at least $13, to cover postage money. Due to rising Media Mail costs, we can only accept books that are under 3lbs.   



Help us open letters, match up requests, and package books.


  • Monetary donations are always appreciated! You can PayPal us your donation to, or contact us to coordinate a mail-in or in person donation.

  • If you are interested in donating books, please contact us by e-mail or FB message to coordinate, as we have limited storage space.

  • For mailed contributions, checks need to be made out to Education WithOut Borders. The mailing address for Education Without Borders is 1414 N Ainsworth St, Portland, OR, 97217. If you want funds to go directly to one of Portland Books to Prisoners' projects, you can add that to the memo section.*

Contact Us



*10% of monetary donations goes to pay for administrative upkeep.

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