Open Letter to Prison Inmate

Ever since I have become a publisher and author, I have received correspondence and emails from a variety of people I have never met. I find it to be an honor and enlightening that people would reach out to write to me.

However, I recently received a very unusual letter from a prison inmate wanting copies of my book. After a great deal of thought and consideration, I thought it would be interesting to share my response to him. It will be the basis of my response to other prison inmates that may solicit my books.

I have been in receipt of your letter. I must admit it was an unusual letter as I do not typically receive any letters from prison inmates. I have taken the time to consider and reflect on your request. And this is what I have decided.

I do occasionally engage in charitable contributions on a case-by-case basis. And we do give complimentary copies of books to select organizations and individuals. But it is by our choice for specific reasons. Outside of that, we sell our books and engage in for-profit activities.

With a prison inmate situation such as yourself, there is a part of me that says that your situation is part of the punishment. Your lack of financial means is a direct result of being incarcerated. As a result, if you cannot “affordâ€? something, it is part of the punishment.

However, I also recognize the need for prisoners to one day become productive citizens lest they fall back into old ways and end up back in prison. Part of the solution is getting good real-world education from reliable sources such as books I publish.

What I am willing to do for you and your fellow inmates is that if you are willing to pay the shipping and handling fee of $3.00 per book, you may order and receive any book within our catalog (which I have enclosed). In essence, I am willing to provide the books for free to you and a limited number of your friends within the inmate community. But you have to pay the minimal shipping and handling fee for us to send it to you.

I believe this is a very fair and generous offer. I will be candid and tell you that the $3.00 is not especially meaningful to me especially if I give the book for free. My cost to print the book is higher than that. What is especially meaningful to me is that, given your limited financial means, and if you do take advantage of my offer is that you are genuinely serious about learning and improving your situation upon your release. You may share and pass around the books as you see fit. I encourage you to share the lessons.

Thank you for writing to me.


Matthew Chan
Publisher & Author

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