The “Definitive Guide” to the #Infosec Free Book Giveaway Thing I’m always doing

This is THE article for me to explain, update the process, and field questions about the Infosec Free Book Giveaway Thing.

It actually was an accidental thing…

I saw someone doing a book giveaway because he had some Amazon credit:

What a great idea! Small side story: I started learning infosec when I was 27, newly divorced and with only child support & food stamps as my income. I had to do something, but as a single stay at home mom with no one to watch my kids, my options were limited. College wasn’t an option, and I couldn’t afford online classes. I couldn’t afford books (I could barely afford to eat even with food stamps.) My only option was to go online and find whatever I could for free. I couldn’t just go hang out around infosec people although I did as much as I could. I didn’t have a mentor in the beginning. I managed, but it was difficult and I had to be very resourceful.

Now that I’m in the position to help, I’m always looking for ways to do so. I don’t want learning to be difficult. Also, I know that back when I was starting out, I was more likely to read or learn something if someone provided it as I always had other priorities (like eating.) $50 to me today is less of a burden compared to when I was starting out. So, I decided to steal Bill’s idea and do the same once I got all caught up with Christmas, travel expenses, and actually forgetting about it for a few months (oops):

I ended up giving away a few books and I thought cool, I’ll take $25-$50 from every paycheck and do the giveaway every two weeks.

Then, other people had the same idea! Except they wanted me to facilitate it. Some wanted anonymity, some wanted to use my follower count etc. Great! I can give MORE books away! I started getting gift card codes in my Twitter DMs.

So now it’s an every 2 weeks kind of thing! If you want to contribute, all you need to do is DM me an Amazon gift card code on Twitter.

The way it works:
1. I’ll tweet about the time to look for the free book giveaway tweet for a few days before the event.
2. If you want a book, you must REPLY to the tweet that says it’s the free book giveaway. Not the tweet explaining when it is, not any other tweets, and not DMs.
3. Once we run out of money or the set time limit (usually 30 minutes) then the book giveaway is closed.
4. Any remaining $ amount will sit in my amazon account until the next giveaway.
5. It takes me a few days to write it all down, organize it, and start sending the books out.
6. I have Amazon Smile set to the Rural Technology Fund so ordering books helps provide to students that may not otherwise have access to IT education.
7. If someone has recently won a book, I will usually ask that they wait a few months before trying again (if I notice.)


>I can no longer take a waitlist. It’s hard to keep up with all the replies and DMs. I set the time limit to 30 minutes because that’s all I can really handle. I was taking a waitlist, but I’m going to start encouraging people to try again instead. I don’t want to start making errors or missing people to waitlist.
>I will be doing each giveaway at a different time to allow different time zones to participate.
>I will no longer donate to the pile myself, as I did not realize that sales tax and international shipping costs REALLY add up! I’m paying $50+ each time, and that’s in addition to the $25-$50 that I donate. I have two kids and we’re saving for college, so I’m really trying not to go overboard!

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