How to Send Books to Inmates from Amazon - Complete Guide

Updated on 10/3/2023

amazon books logo

If you have tried sending anything to most correctional facilities then you already know the process can be confusing and not straightforward.

This is the same when sending books to inmates from the world’s largest bookstore even with regular mail. There are some rules.

When it comes to supporting inmates, sending books can be a meaningful way to enhance their personal growth and mental well-being. Many discussions online lean towards books helping inmates reduce recidivism.

The reason is quite clear, books help people learn and also when reading books it takes your time and not being involved in activities they shouldn’t be.

Amazon, the popular online marketplace, offers a convenient way to send books directly to correctional facilities.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of how to send books to inmates from Amazon, ensuring your efforts make a positive impact on their lives.

Research Facility Guidelines:

First, it’s important to know the general rules for sending books to prisons or jails which is what we will go over first. There are some essential factors to keep in mind. Firstly, it is crucial that the books are brand new and in paperback format.

Banned Books In Prison

  1. Used or Hardcover books

  2. Explicit Sexual Content

  3. Violent or Graphic Material

  4. Drug Manufacturing or Distribution

  5. Escape or Contraband

  6. Gang-Related Material

  7. Hate Speech or Extremist Material

  8. Non-Standard Publications

Now that we have an understanding of what books are not allowed to send let’s get into what books are you allowed to send inmates.

Now that we have an understanding of what books are not allowed to send let’s get into what books are you allowed to send inmates.

  1. Allowed Books In Prison

  2. Paperback Books

  3. Educational and Non-Fiction Books

  4. Fiction Books

  5. Religious Books

  6. Legal Reference Books

  7. Self-Help and Inspirational Books

It’s important to note that these categories are general guidelines, and the specific policies may vary.

If you’re planning to send books to an inmate, it’s recommended to contact the facility directly for an updated list of banned books or any additional restrictions they may have in place if you personally send them in a box, they will also be rejected.

How to send books to inmates from Amazon

  1. Go to Amazon
amazon home page
  1. Search for New Paperback books for inmates
amazon home page search bar
  1. Add Books to Your Amazon Account Cart

Once you have selected the books, add them to your Amazon cart. Ensure that you have the correct editions and formats (paperback) before proceeding to checkout. amazon checkout

  1. Enter the Inmate’s Mailing Address:

During the checkout process, provide the inmate’s mailing address as the shipping address. Double-check the accuracy of the address to ensure the package reaches the correct destination.

  1. Include Inmate Name and ID Number:

In the name line of the shipping address, include the inmate’s first name and last name, followed by their ID number (e.g., John Doe 12345). This helps ensure proper identification and delivery of the package.

  1. Select the Appropriate Shipping Method:

Find out the P.O. Box for the prison. You can try contacting the mail room. Always address your Amazon delivery using that P.O Box enter the box number as “PO BOX” followed by the number.

  1. Complete the Purchase:

Review your order details and proceed to complete the purchase. Provide the required payment information and any additional shipping instructions, if applicable.

Follow up and Communicate

Once the package has been delivered, it’s a good practice to follow up with the inmate and confirm its arrival.

What Happens if Your Amazon Book Package Cannot Be Delivered?

You could be concerned that the money could be wasted if the book wasn’t delivered or if the delivery fails for the person incarcerated.

But that shouldn’t matter if the seller uses Amazon as the transporter or if you’re buying directly from Amazon and not third-party sellers on Amazon.

It is based upon Amazon ensuring they can offer you full refunds, including shipping costs, for any canceled shipment. In such cases, delivery of a book is sent back to Amazon for return. Amazon will give a full refund.

Sending Books from Your Home Address

Now, if you would like to avoid any delay or possibility of your order not being successfully delivered then we recommend that you send the books from Amazon to your home address and then you send it through the United States Postal Service.

united states postal service logo

A second solution is suggested…

Amazon recommends that you purchase books from Amazon using your own home address. When the books arrive, you can send them directly to a prisoner via USPS.

This method has various advantages. For starters, it lets you choose from a wide range of titles accessible on Amazon, guaranteeing that you find the books that your loved one would enjoy the most.

Second, entering your home address as the delivery destination allows you to select the most appropriate shipping alternatives, including expedited shipment if necessary.

Once the books have been delivered to your home, you can prepare them for shipment to the inmate. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to assist you in this process:

  1. Collect the Books: After receiving the books from Amazon, ensure that they are in good condition preferably buy them new and match the titles you intended to purchase.

  2. Package Carefully: Use a sturdy and secure packaging method to prevent damage during transit. Flat-rate USPS boxes or padded envelopes work well for this purpose.

  3. Addressing: On the parcel, clearly put the inmate’s complete name, inmate’s ID number, and accurate correctional facility address, and your return address. To ensure accurate delivery, all relevant details must be included.

  4. Mailing Restrictions: Some correctional facilities may have special rules and restrictions about the types of books that can be mailed. We have written some above but check with the facility or consult their guidelines to ensure that the books you’ve chosen are compliant with their policies.

  5. Visit the Local Post Office: Take the packaged books to your local USPS office or schedule a pickup if available. The United States Postal Service is a dependable and reputable service.

Remember to check with the correctional facility about any specific needs or limits, as policies can differ.

Sending books to incarcerated people may be a significant way to offer them with amusement, knowledge, and a connection to the outside world, and this technique, which uses Amazon and USPS, simplifies the procedure for your convenience.

Remember that Amazon is not the only approved vendor. You can also use Barnes & Noble to send books to inmates at any correctional facility.


Sending books to offenders, whether through Amazon or other reputable suppliers, is a meaningful gift that promotes personal development, mental well-being, and reduced recidivism. It connects inmates to the outside world, gives useful knowledge, and keeps them involved in beneficial activities.

Amazon streamlines the procedure to ensure simplicity and accessibility. You may make a difference in the lives of your loved ones by following the requirements, correctly addressing parcels, and sticking to facility regulations.

In the event of a delivery problem, Amazon’s dedication to customer satisfaction protects your investment. Furthermore, sending books from your home address by USPS is a convenient and user-friendly option.

Regardless of your preference, the act of mailing books gives those behind bars hope and the prospect of a better future. It’s a strong reminder that the gift of information and connection can thrive even in difficult situations, encouraging resilience and recovery. Your efforts can make a real difference.