Contact Us

Link to Frequently Asked Questions 

The MOST asked question is about filling out the inmate address.

Inmate ID Number: best placement in space with last name.
Facility Name: best placement in the "company" space.

If you did not see any space for inmate address, please use the form below to provide the address.
Thank You 
Jane Gray, owner
281-534-3370 (bookstore)
Please leave a message. 
There is no one perfect rule for mailing books to prisons.
Each prison system and county jail sets it's own regulations for inmate books, magazines etc

Inmate ID numbers are required by most facilities. Please include the SID or other inmate number. These can often be looked up from the links on our US State Prisons pages. Use the inmate's name as it is known by the prison. In most cases, prisons will not deliver mail if the names and numbers do not match.
Most prisons have rules against books with certain types content. For example: prison escape or language that might lead to prison unrest, specific sexual content (such as rape, sex with minors, S&M, incest, necrophilia, or homosexual sex), drug/bomb/weapon manufacturing, racial content, gang or criminal content.
Many prisons will allow bookstores to send books, while other prisons require books to come directly from the publisher, and some limit to established bookstores with physical locations, but no "resellers" while others welcome Amazon as one of a handful of approved vendors. A very few prisons have very few rules, including allowing visitors to bring books into the unit.
Paperback books are often preferred. Some prisons will not accept hardcover books or will remove the hardback binding. Other prisons will allow hardcovers. Some prisons will accept hardbacks under some circumstances or for some inmates. Most prisons do not allow spiral wire or plastic binding or publications over a certain size.
In many cases books must be new, other prisons are okay with used books. Some prisons limit the number of books, some prison systems have different rules based on an inmate's security status.
Some prisons have rules on what type of packing box or envelope may be used.
Magazine subscriptions are mailed by the publishers and are accepted at every facility we have researched thus far.

It is vital that families and friends familiarize themselves with the rules for their loved one's prison.

IMailToPrison.Com is collecting information on all states.
If you are not sure what is okay for your loved one, use what we have learned. Information and/or links to all 50 states found on our US State Prisons' Information page.

If your loved one is in a county lock-up, please check the county sheriff's web page (Google it) for information on their regulations. Look for the jails or corrections section, and the information may be with the information on inmate mail or sometimes in visitation. Also, you can call the sheriff's office and ask for the jail mail room.

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Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q- How long will it take the package of books or puzzles to be delivered to my inmate?

Often less than a week.  
Your order will have USPS Delivery Confirmation, so both you and the store can track delivery. 
Most new books are shipped direct from our wholesaler to your inmate.  Those go out 1 to 2 business days after the order has been placed.  If the order is back-ordered, you will receive an email with the anticipated ship date.  

All other items are mailed out in one to two business days. Shipping time varies. Most packages will arrive at the unit from 2 to 4 days of mailing.  In most facilities the unit mail room will check and deliver the package within 48 to 72 hours of arrival (This does not including weekends or holidays.) 

Information on magazine subscriptions can be found at the bottom of our Magazine page. 


Q- How do I fill in the address form on the quick cart?

First fill in your name, address and phone number, using the address that is associated  with your bank or credit card. 

Below that is the inmate shipping information, do not stress over this. If you get all the information in, we will make sure it is correctly placed for delivery!)  

Inmate number goes after the last name

For Example:

First Name:   Middle Initial:    Last Name:

Sidney                        Z                Smith # 9876543 

Company Name (can be for prison or jail facility name)

Gurney Unit

Address Line 1

1385 FM 3328  

Address Line 2

_____________(can be used for location information such as "Trustee Camp" "Work Camp" or cell block and number)



State/Province       Postal Code

Texas                           75803

Phone Number: (not required)

PayPal Customers: If PayPal does not allow you to enter a shipping address other than your own, you may either put the inmate's address in the special instructions portion of the shopping cart, or send a separate email with that information using the "Contact Us" link to the left or on the "contact us" link on the website IMailToPrison.Com 


Q- My loved one is in a Federal Penitentiary other State Prison or a county jail. Will IMailToPrison.Com mail to those units?  

Please Research the  rules for that prison first. Use the links and information on our website  for state
information or or county website or contact the prison/jail mail room first! Each jurisdiction will have their
own guidelines. Find out who is allowed to mail in what. Magazines are always shipped from the publisher.
If the jail or prison requires books to ship from the publisher, only books specifically described as shipping
from the publisher on our website are shipped from the publishers. It is also important to know what limits
on how many books or magazines  inmates in that unit are allowed to receive or retain. 

Q- What if books are  denied  by another state (not Texas) or other jurisdiction

These rules differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it is the customer's responsibility to be familiar with the rules governing your inmate's facility.  IMailToPrison.Com and The Paperback Shop are under no obligation to refund the cost of products or services due to a customer's lack of knowledge or lack of compliance with the regulations of any prison, jail or other facility.


  • A tattoo book sent to a facility that will not allow tattoo books.
  • A hardcover book is ordered for a inmate who is under security restrictions forbidding hardcover books. 
  • Quick Pack of Comics, which contains 10 comic books, is mailed to a county which only allows for 3 magazines or books per week. 
  • Approved Vendor or Publisher Only regulationsMagazines are always shipped from publishers. Magazines will be delivered by the prisons, in accordance with the prison's property rules on content and number of magazines allowed.
  • Approved Vendor or Publisher Only regulations:   Books are mailed from our bookstore or from our national warehouse.  For institutions requiring publisher only or approved vendors only, we are not a publisher, and if approved only in those states  as shown on our US State Prisons' Information pages. 

Every county jail has standards set by that county, please contact that county jail before placing an order. 

MOST states have more restrictions on prison mail than Texas, some have fewer rules.  Check the website for that prison system before ordering.  We are gathering information on all US state prisons.  What we have learned can be found on the US State Prison Informationpage.  As that information can be our of date, we do not guarantee its accuracy.  

Federal Inmates :  We mail to Federal Prisons too. That information is found here:BOP Regulations   Note: It is a very good idea to check out the individual prison's page for additional information.


Q- How much will I pay for shipping items purchased on-line? 

Most products on the web site have free shipping or are priced with shipping.  If you order a product with shipping costs, those will be shown before payment is submitted. 


Q- How often can I send a Grab Bag?  

I do not recommend sending more than one Grab Bag per month. In Texas Prisons there is very often a problem with storage space. Your inmate may not have enough room to keep all 60 or so books at once.  If you order more than one at one time, they will be shipped. Please ask your inmate about his/her storage space first. 


Q- I Do not see a Grab Bag that is just exactly the type of books I want to order for an inmate can you make one up for my order?

Sad to say, but no.  Grab Bags are made from excess stock. or stock from special purchases, such as a bookstore that has gone out of business.  When there is books are available to make a western bag, a science fiction bag, a non-fiction bag or some other special bag we do so. We can not make Grab Bags to order. If your inmate requires certain types of books, call the store to order books at regular prices; used books are 1/2 price. Shipping and Handling Charges will apply. 


Q- Can The Paperback Shop /IMailToPrison.Com send the book  I purchased at another store to a prison Inmate? 

Absolutely Not!  This could endanger our privilege of mailing to every inmate. 


Q- Can I order used or new books not in the store or on the web site for a  Prison Inmate? 


Yes – Thousands of new books can be ordered at publisher price.  Just about anything you want is available from our national wholesaler: bestsellers, new books, older titles, fiction and non-fiction. 

Books not available from our wholesaler: The Paperback Shop /IMailToPrison.Com will also order used books from on line book search service or new books ordered from on-line publishers/web sites; A $5 search/ordering fee for each book and shipping charges will be added to the price the store pays for the book.

Q- What exactly are the rules on what Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) inmates can and cannot receive?


This paragraph is from the TDCJ Publication;

General Information Guide for Familiesof Offenders (April 2016)


Newspapers, magazines and books may be mailed directly to offenders only by the publisher, publication supplier or bookstore; subject to review and rejection in accordance with the correspondence rules.  (no rules against hard covers, nor against used books, no limits for books received - although some units have stronger space limitations than others) 


Q- Can a Inmate of a Texas Prison order books or Grab Bags directly from the store using the Commissary Account "Trust Check"

Yes, but inmates do not have as many options. Special Grab Bags are not available by Trust Check. Also it is a challenge to communicate by mail when inmates want specific books. Inmates who use Trust Checks are eligible for certain discounts.  Send us your inmate's name and address so we will mail them an information letter and order form.   


Q- What if my inmate is moved before the package arrives? What if the package never arrives at the prison unit? What if the package is denied by the jail or prison? What if my inmate is released before the package arrives?

Paperback Shop /IMailToPrison.Com,  has a USPS Delivery Confirmation number to track every package we send.   We guarantee delivery of books, puzzles and calendars to the unit to which the package was addressed.  If an error is made by Paperback Swap N Shop we will reship at no charge. 

Magazine subscriptions are handled through a 3rd party which will not refund subscriptions.  If there is a problem with magazine delivery, every attempt will be made to remedy the situation. 

The unit mail room will log in packages addressed to inmates in that unit. If the inmate has moved, the package should not be logged and the package will be forwarded by the Post Office only if a USPS Change of Address form has been filled out.  The Post Office will not forward packages that have address corrected by the prison mail room.  In some cases the unit may forward mail on a TDCJ truck going to the new unit. Customers may pay extra for Priority Mail, which will be forwarded by USPS.

If a package is incorrectly addressed or if your inmate has been moved the package is almost always returned to the bookstore. Return shipping can often take 3 weeks. Paperback Shop /IMailToPrison.Com will re-mail it for postage plus $1. On those occasions that the store pays return postage, that too will be charged to the customer.

If the package is returned because the inmate is released and/or if for any other reason it is not to be reshipped 
The Paperback Shop/IMailToPrison.Com may refund portions of the purchase price, never to include our shipping costs or any postage due on a return package.  


Q- What if books are rejected, denied and or banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Censors? 

Any New Book that is listed on this site and later rejected by TDCJ as containing banded material will be replaced by a book of your choice that is of equal value to the one ordered. This does not include books specifically requested by customers. If you contact us requesting specific books, we will try to let you know which books are likely to be rejected. The customer's call to TDCJ (or to your loved one's facility) mail rooms is the only thing close to a guarantee. Occasionally we receive notice that a title we have mailed for years is now banned. Forbidden subjects include sexual images (that cannot be successfully defended as "art") bomb making, racially derogatory language, prison escape or books describing various sexual behaviors, including homosexuality, S/M, rape, incest, child molestation
Used Book Sets
 & Back Issue Magazines: If a book from one of these sets is rejected, The Paperback Shop /IMailToPrison.Com will replace it, and reship at no charge.
Grab Bags:
 We try not to put in any books that we believe will be rejected. It seems that some units have stronger or different standards than others (or some mail rooms do not check every book?) I know that sometimes banned books do get packed.  For this reason we estimate the number of Thriller/Suspense books in a Standard Grab Bag as 8 to 10 when, supply permitting, we pack 10 to 12 of those titles.  We cannot guarantee that any or all books in any package are acceptable to TDCJ. However if more than 3 books are rejected from any one grab bag, this store will replace those books at no charge. 



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