How to Send a Book to an Inmate

Almost all jails and prisons require that books be sent to inmates directly from the publisher or a reputable online vendor, such as Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. This requirement actually makes it simpler for you because you can compare prices easily and avoid shopping trips away from home or work and packaging time.

How to Order from Amazon.com

Click here to be taken to Amazon.com

Click the “Sign-in” button at top right of page and then choose “New Customer, Start Here”.

Register for a free account.

When ready to shop, sign into your account and use the drop down menu between the search box and the word “Search” to choose BOOKS.

There are several ways to shop for books including:

  • Type the book title or author the search box and hit GO.
  • You can choose the “book’ tab just under the search box and it will take you to a page with several categories such as the bestselling books of the year.
  • Choose the button just under the search bar called Best Sellers to be taken to many of the current bestselling books to browse. There is also a New Releases button right next to the Best Seller button.
  • You can also browse to find a book by typing a genre such as mysteries, spies, historic romance, thrillers, etc. into the search box and many choices in that genre will appear.

Note: If you see books that you might want to purchase later, there is an “Add to My Wish List” button on the right side of the screen. Click it and it will be saved there for you to view later and purchase if desired.

Once you find the book you want to purchase, click “Add to Cart.”
Continue shopping until you have the books you wish to buy for your inmate.

Click “Proceed” to get to the check-out shopping cart.

Check to be sure the books you chose are what you have showing in your cart.

Carefully add your inmate’s shipping address exactly the way you address envelopes or postcards to the inmate. If the jail wants books shipped to a different address, type that address in, but most jails want all mail sent to one address

Then enter credit card information making sure to include your billing address not the shipping address of the credit card will be declined by your bank/cardholder.

Click “Submit.”

Amazon will save the shipping address for you so all you have to do for future purchases is click on the shipping address to send books to the inmate. You can store multiple shipping addresses on your account to choose from in future purchases.

You can check the delivery status by logging into your account. At the right upper corner click the “”Your Account and choose “Your Orders” from the drop down menu. Once on your order page you can click the Track button above the book you sent to see if it has shipped, when estimate arrival time is or if it has been delivered.

 

How to Order from BarnesandNoble.com

Click here to open the BarnesandNoble.com site.

Click “Sign In” at top of page.

Choose “Register An Account.”

Provide requested information for your free account.

When done it will sign you in and take you to the website. In the future you will click sign in button and sign in using your email and password.

Use the drop down menu to the right of the search box but before the word SEARCH and choose BOOKS.

  • You can type in an author or book title to the search box and locate the exact book.
  • You can choose the “Book’ tab just under the search box and it will bring up a drop down menu with different book categories listed. Choose a category and you will be taken to many books in that genre to choose from.
  • Choose the button halfway down the website page that reads “Best Sellers” to be taken to many of the current bestselling books to browse.

Click the book you wish to buy and click the “Add to Bag” button next to the photo of the book. Don’t click the “Pick up in a Store” button. Remember, most jails only accept books mailed directly from the vendor to the facility.

After each book is added to your bag, you will select either “Continue Shopping” or “Continue to Check-out”.

When you get to Check out:

Carefully add your inmate’s shipping address exactly the way you address envelopes or postcards to the inmate. If the jail wants books shipped to a different address, type that address in, but most jails want all mail sent to one address.

Then enter credit card information making sure to include your billing address not the shipping address of the credit card will be declined by your bank/cardholder.

Click submit.

You can track the order by logging in, clicking the “My Account” tab at the top of the page and choosing “Managing My Account”. Your orders will be displayed and you can check to see if they have shipped and when they were delivered.

Remember these important tips:

Never send a hardcover book. Jails and prisons will not accept them because they can be used as weapons. You can only send soft-cover books to inmates.

Books must NOT contain images or content that are considered excessively violent, pornographic or obscene. Any book that does not meet the facility’s standards will be disposed of.

Contact the jail and ask how many books an inmate is allowed to have in his or her possession at once. Also ask how many books you can send at once. Most jails have limits.

You may be interested in donating to a prison book program

 

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.