- Books must be paperback (most prisons will not allow hard-covers)
- Paperback fiction in new or gently used condition is welcome.
- Self-published books are not useful unless written specifically for the prison population.
- Paperback non-fiction in good, excellent, or new condition is always needed
- Hardcover non-fiction with a UPC on the back will be accepted for re-sale through Better World Books
- Books that are over 25 years old cannot be used as they are often outdated or in poor condition. If it does not have a UPC bar code on the back cover, it is likely too old.
- Information technology books must be 6 years old or newer
- Publishers or authors, please review our “Publisher/Author Guidelines“
- A list of books we cannot use is located here. Please check this out before bringing books!
The following subjects and genres are in constant demand:
- English dictionaries and thesauruses (we can use as many of these as you can find!)
- Foreign language dictionaries
- African-American studies
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X and works about or by Martin Luther King, Jr. or Barack Obama
- Native American studies
- Mexican, Aztec, and Mayan studies
- Puerto Rican studies
- GED Prep
- Spanish/English dictionaries and books in Spanish
- How to start a small business.
- Consumer-level legal materials (law dictionaries, etc.)
- General Health
- Gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender studies
- Trades (i.e. woodworking, automotive, etc.)
- Spirituality & Religion – especially Bible concordances & dictionaries, Islam and non-mainstream religions such as Wicca, Paganism, New Age, etc.
- Psychology and philosophy
- Secret societies and the occult (e.g., Masons, Rosicrucian Order, extra terrestrials, etc.)
Where To Bring Donations
Book donations can be dropped off at the PBP office in the basement of the United First Parish Church in Quincy Center during our normal volunteer hours. We usually have lots of volunteers to help unload your car if you arrive more than a half-hour before the end of the session. Parking near the church can be tricky. Please park where you can and then come to our office. We will send one or more people with hand trucks to help you unload.
Because of space limitations, please contact us if you are bringing more than six boxes (617-423-3298 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you do not live in the Boston area
If you have books to donate and do not live in the Boston area, we encourage you to donate them to another “Books to Prisoners” program near you. Because it is prohibitively expensive to ship books, we do not encourage people to ship books unless they are subjects listed above.
If you choose to mail books to us, please do not mail them in a manner that requires a signature. We are not at our office during business hours and the volunteers that operate PBP are usually not able to go to the Quincy post office during their open hours. If we do not pick them up in time, the post office will return them to you.
Book Drives and Book Drop Off Sites
Please contact us if your business, church, or other organization would like to serve as a book drop off center and/or hold a book drive!