Print Vs. Ebooks – Does It Pay To Do Print?

by Molly Greene

Books-Sale_OpGiven an unlimited number of books to read and full access to any title I wanted, if I had to choose one or the other, I’d prefer to read a traditional print book over an ebook any day. Don’t get me wrong: I love my Kindle, but I choose print, hands down. And yet, my books are available on Amazon in ebook format only.

Here’s why.

Aside from a smattering of local indie booksellers, it’s nearly impossible – and if you can swing it, can be very expensive – for self-published authors to get their product into bookstores nationwide. See this post on the subject by successful self-pubber author Toby Neal. Part of the issue is being responsible for the cost of unsold books returned by stores. HuffPo addresses the subject in Putting an End to Returns.

Ebook sales are higher

Even when self-publishers do make print books available online, print profits are lower and ebooks remain the highest sellers by far. A few authors do sell a nice amount of print books – Toby Neal and Todd Borg come to mind – but the majority report only a handful of print book sales per month.

So, unless a self-published author attends direct sale events like Todd, or does a lot of Goodreads giveaways – which require a print book – it sometimes doesn’t pay to commit the time, energy, and budget to creating print editions for every title. Here’s what friend and author Belinda Pollard has to say:

BelindaWBook_Op“My experience so far is that paperbacks do not sell well in online bookstores. This was exactly what I expected. I produced a paperback for my debut mystery/thriller Poison Bay, not for online sales but because it feels different to have my own book on my bookshelf instead of just in my Kindle, and because I can do it all myself so I don’t have any typesetting or cover design costs. It is also worth it for me to have a book to show people, because I work in publishing, and so it becomes a business cost for me. 

“An unexpected bonus is that it’s looking like the paperbacks that I hand-sell are going to be my best chance of breaking even within a year on my publishing costs, including the huge cost of professional editing. I have sold books at speaking engagements, to my exercise class, church members, Toastmasters club members, bank tellers, post office workers, people attending children’s parties… the list goes on. It’s surprising who is interested in buying a copy, when only we have the courage to talk about our books to people we meet.”

Costs to set up a print book

It’s free to set up a print book on CreateSpace (CS) if you do the work yourself, and don’t have to pay for typesetting costs or a cover artist to create a jpg of your front and back covers, (um, good idea!). You order a certain number of books for yourself, and CS ships as they’re ordered via Amazon. Here’s a great article about using Lightening Source vs. CreateSpace for print – spoiler alert, many authors use both services for the same title, which is twice the work.

Per friend and author Helen Hanson about using CreateSpace, “For print, you’ll need a custom cover file that includes the front, back, and spine in .pdf format. I do my own from the ebook art using MS Publisher. For the interior file, download the CS Word doc template for the size book (trim size) you want and then clip and paste your text (mss) into it. When you’re happy, save the file as a .pdf document for the upload.

“You can purchase a hardcopy proof from CS for about $10, but you don’t have to. They have a fabulous online proofer, or you can download a .pdf proof to examine at your leisure. Grainy images on the proof = grainy images on the hardcopy.

“Once it’s complete, you can buy copies of your books at reduced rates (one or 9,999) from the CS dashboard/panel – not your Amazon sales page, where you can only purchase retail. You can also buy and ship to someone else from the CS dashboard. The book cost is the same whether you order 1 or 9,999. In this case, the 6X9 book with 290 pages costs $4.33. The shipping costs depend on location, volume, and delivery date.”

Here are Helen’s numbers for a 6×9 print book, including shipping (which drops considerably when you order more than 5 or 10) to a single address, with a 12-day lead time*:

  • 1 book = 4.33 + 3.59 shipping, or 7.92 per unit
  • 20 books = 86.60 + 13.00 shipping, or 4.98 per unit
  • 25 books = 108.25 + 15.50 shipping, or 4.95 per unit

*If you want them sooner, the price goes up significantly!

Do readers prefer ebooks over paperbacks?

Readers are split. Ebooks are easier to travel with and are less expensive. I think bottom line, almost every dedicated reader prefers print, but electronic reading devices have made huge inroads because of ebooks’ price and convenience.

Will ebooks replace print books?

Ebooks will never replace print. My favorite authors’ hardcopy books are my most cherished possessions to be read over and over again. I use ebooks to find new authors, and I believe most ebook readers feel the same way.

Let’s be honest. Ebooks lack a lot of things that print books offer. Character. Heft. The ability to easily turn the pages back and check a character’s name name or situation in the plot. (Who is Mary? Was that the sister or the friend?) This is harder to do with a Kindle, and most of the time I just forge ahead.

Will libraries be negatively affected by the growing use of ebooks?

There’s been lots of hoopla about the demise of libraries due to the ebook revolution, which I think is hogwash. Libraries will always be an important source of information within communities.

I borrow ebooks from my regional library online, but that will never replace my live and in-person trips to borrow hardbacks, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. I think libraries will someday loan ereader devices as well as ebooks and audio books and everything else! Which brings us to the fact that it’s also difficult for self-pubbers to get into the library system in print …

Ebooks vs. print books in library distribution

I do think, though, that over time it may be easier to get a self-published ebook into the library system than it will be to get in with a print book. Read Indie Authors: How to Get Visible in Libraries by Porter Anderson (on Anne Allen’s blog) via a program called Self-e. Then there’s Joe Konrath’s author service, Ebooksareforever.comread about it here.

Readers, what do you think? Do you create print versions for all your books and if so, how are they selling?

All original content by Molly Greene is copyright protected – did you enjoy the article? You can show your support by checking out Molly’s Amazon Author Page – and hey, buy a book while you’re there! Or, subscribe to this blog and you’ll never miss the weekly posts. Your email will NOT be sold, shared, abused, or rented – that’s a promise. If you’re not already, follow @mollygreene on Twitter. Mwah! Thank you so much.




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56 Responses to Print Vs. Ebooks – Does It Pay To Do Print?

  1. Kathryn Goldman July 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    “The ability to easily turn the pages back and check a character’s name name or situation in the plot.”


    back, back, back, back, can’t find it.

    forward, forward, forward, lost my place.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

      Hahahahaaaa! It’s true, isn’t it Kathryn? I flip back a lot in my print books, have given up trying on my Kindle, usually just muddle through.

      • Belinda Pollard July 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

        SO true. Drives me even more bonkers than I already am. 😉

      • Karen July 21, 2015 at 8:04 am #

        And I constantly lose my place in ebooks. Some have no page numbers.

        • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 8:06 am #

          EXACTLY. Frustrating! Thanks, Karen.

        • Dena Jo July 21, 2015 at 8:43 am #

          You can bookmark and unbookmark as many pages as you want. Just bookmark the pages before you leave it.

  2. Garry Rodgers July 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Good timing on this post for me, Molly. I’m doing a series of ebook guides on crime writing – very short & to the point with about 8K words each. I don’t see any value in putting a print effort into these because of a cheap price point, however I do think it’s worth having a print-on-demand version available for a full length novel. After all, it’s one more product to have available at a relatively low extra cost when you consider how much investment goes into a novel.

    Besides, I’m old school and It feels real good to hold a print version of your labor of love 🙂

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

      I agree, Garry – someday I’ll do it!

  3. Eduardo Suastegui July 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Hmm. I started to put together a print book for one of my series, bundling the first two books. Now I’m not so sure.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

      Eduardo, it completely depends on what you plan to do – authors who do public events MUST have a print book. I’ve just chosen to spend the time writing the next book that I would have spent preparing print versions. I don’t plan to do public events, I live too far from a big town to pop into bookstores and try to get them placed, etc. etc. I’m sure some day I’ll buckle down and do it!

  4. Pamela Beason July 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    I do create print versions for all of my full-length self-published novels and I do sell a few copies of each book every month, which, because of the short “shelf life” of books in stores, is generally more than my traditional publisher sells in bookstores.

    I have a Kindle but I prefer to read print books because I find the constant scrolling on a tiny screen a little annoying, and somehow using a device feels like work to me. I’m trying to train myself to love ebooks because as an author, I make more money from ebooks than from print, but as a reader, I’m still addicted to print.

    As a working author, a private investigator perpetually involved in research, and a voracious reader, my house is a continual fire hazard with stacks of printed materials. Thank heavens for my wonderful local library, or I’d have even more books lying about.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      All true, Pam, as an an author who gets out in the world, you have to have print versions to take with you to speaking engagements, etc. If I read book on my Kindle that I absolutely adore and know I’ll want to read again, I purchase the print version. Someday I’m coming to visit so I can see your house first hand!

      • Pamela Beason July 21, 2015 at 8:46 am #

        I’d love to see you up here in the NW corner of the country, Molly! And yes, I too keep print copies of my favorite books (and those I think I need to learn from) on hand, and read them over and over again.

  5. Belinda Pollard July 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Thanks for the mention, Molly. Just yesterday, I presented a Meet the Author talk at one of my local libraries, and someone came who had already bought and read the ebook. She bought a paperback because she wanted one with my signature in it. How lovely is that?? 🙂

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Yaaaaay! Congrats Belinda, thanks for sharing, this is great for all of us to hear.

  6. David July 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    HI Molly –

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I did my first book in print for the most basic of reasons: my mother made me do it! She insisted on me going the extra mile to get into print so that she could have a copy on her shelf and give them to her friends as gifts.

    I recently published a military thriller called WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION. We did a paperback and I have been floored by the sales. We’ve sold as many print books and we have ebooks. My explanation is that we have a strong military following for that book and the audience skews older (and wealthier).

    Thanks –

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

      Hi David, so interesting!!! And yes, I’m betting genre and target audience have much to do with print sales – this is great for everyone to hear and huge congratulations to you on your success. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Anne R. Allen July 20, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    I have print versions of most of my books. They represent about 5% of my sales. But I still do it, because, like you, I prefer print myself. And I love to be able to pass on a great book to a person I know will appreciate it. I know you’re supposed to be able to “borrow” an ebook, but I don’t know anybody who’s figured out how to do that.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

      5% of sales is better than I’ve heard elsewhere, Anne – good for you, and if I had print books, that’s all my relatives would get for Christmas 🙂

  8. Linton Robinson` July 20, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    1. It doesn’t cost anything to put your book on CreateSpace. You’ve already done the work. There is no setup cost, you don’t need an ISBN.
    2. Since it costs nothing, it’s more like “Why WOULDN’T you have an ebook version?”
    3.No it won’t make a big splash on your sales figures (unless you have something like a local book that you can sell through some local stores or your taco stand or something). But there are other reasons to have it.
    –First, do it before the ebook and use it for editing, and giving to Betas. Printed book is the best way to edit a book, and a nicer handout to helpers than a stack of paper or a file.
    –Intangible, but true, it’s a “hood ornament’ for your book, street cred “bling” that separates your from all the ebook only titles.
    –There are reviewers who insist on print books to review.
    –You can sign them at readings, sell them at booths in book fairs and the like.
    –ALWAYS have your book in hand when you are in public. the best advertising you can do.
    4. No, don’t even think about trying to distribute to bookstores. Not even a good idea to have your readings in bookstores.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Linton!

    • Helen Hanson July 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm #


      For people who can’t put their own cover together, they’ll have to pay someone to do it. Even the interior file, which is entirely clip and paste, is beyond some people to navigate. So it can cost nothing, but it can cost significant dollars for others.

      But now I feel like a slacker for not having my books on me at all times . . .

  9. Helen Hanson July 20, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    Hey, Molly.

    I originally created a print edition just to document the process for a blog post. For subsequent releases, it cost nothing but a bit of time. For anyone paying for the privilege, it may not be worth it.
    I want the print editions for local book signings, giveaways, and to send to my relatives who wonder what I really do all day 🙂

    Always a pleasure to be here . . .


    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      I agree with all you say and do, Helen – thanks so much for sharing with me!

  10. Dena Jo July 20, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    If the choice were between hard copy and the Amazon Kindle device, I would no doubt continue to prefer hard copy.

    BUT–and this is a big but–I find Kindle for the iPad to be so vastly superior to a Kindle device in every conceivable way that I prefer it to a hard copy book.

    It is so easy to bookmark, highlight, notate and search in Kindle for the iPad, and then view all your hightlights and notes in one place and jump to those spots in the text itself, so much easier than on the Amazon Kindle. And I do that so often that the last time I tried reading a hard copy book (which was not that long ago) and went to highlight my first sentence and realized what a drag it was going to be to physically do that and then find the highlights afterwards, that I immediately went to Amazon and bought the ebook version and read that instead.

    Reading on the Amazon Kindle device is a total drag. Reading on Kindle for the iPad is a joy.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

      Verrrrrry Interesting, DJ – I have never heard that before, so glad you shared. I do a LOT of proofing and editing on my Kindle. Is it possible to export highlighted notes from Kindle for IPad? Can’t export notes from a Kindle unless the ebook is already published and for sale on Amazon – so when proofing draft copies, I have to re-type everything. Ugh.

      • Dena Jo July 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

        No, it can’t export. I proofread and edit at night in bed on my Kindle for iPad, and then the next day I have to jump from note to note and retype in my document. Yeah, bummer. But let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to go from note to note on the Kindle for iPad then it is on the Amazon Kindle device.

        • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

          Hah! Great minds think alike – I do the exact same thing. But all the notes and highlights are together in one place on the Kindle, too?! “Go to > Notes & Highlights.”

          • Dena Jo July 20, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

            Yeah, but it’s easier to touch on an iPad. And yes, great minds…

          • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

            So true – Kindle’s not built for typing, that’s for sure. 🙂

          • Dena Jo July 20, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

            It’s also way easier to type on the iPad than the Kindle.

  11. Tom Rogers July 20, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Hi Molly–great post and comments. I’d just add one niche exception: print copies are still vastly preferred in the children’s and middle-grade arenas, especially for the kinds of books that could land in classrooms and school libraries. That seems to be the conventional wisdom and has also been my experience with my book (a middle-grades novel to teach kids about 9/11) — schools account for a big part of my sales, which run about 90/10 in favor of print. FWIW.

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

      Great point Tom, thank you so much! We’re reminded again that genre and target audience make a huge difference in the decision. I would think nonfiction vs. fiction would figure into the decision, too. Thanks again!

  12. Cheri Fields July 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    My local library, Grand Rapids, Michigan, loans out Nook eReaders. I had to sign a sheet promising to pay for it if I left it in the hot car, etc. but it was fun getting a feel for how a reader looks and feels.
    I’m thrilled to see how reasonable the cost for getting my book done on CS. My hope is still to get a traditional deal for my big book, but it’s always nice to know there’s a good alternative.
    The more options the better!

    • Molly Greene July 20, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

      See? I knew it! I suggested to our librarians that they ask the “Friends of the Library” group to donate a few ereaders, we’ll see what happens. And yes, the cost to create a print book is minimal – especially if you do the bulk of the work yourself, then it’s mainly an investment of time. Good luck!

  13. Carol Taylor July 20, 2015 at 11:21 pm #

    Our Anthology is both e-book and print but the e-book has sold more but as someone commented, mum wanted a copy. I use Kindle to read in bed as the light is not so disturbing for hubby and if travelling. But much prefer a hard copy otherwise my bookshelves would be empty. Thank you to the commentators re Kindle on I-pad I haven’t tried that will now as it sounds far easier to navigate than Kindle. Thank you everyone 🙂

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 7:42 am #

      I agree, Carol, the iPad conversation is very interesting to me, as well. Thanks so much!

  14. MM Jaye July 21, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    That’s funny! Tomorrow, I’m to go pick up 20 print copies of my book from a local printer. And that’s the first time for me. As I’m leaving for my summer holidays for the very island used as the setting of my romance, I thought I’d pick up some copies to offer (not sell) to friends there. Another idea was to, maybe, leave a copy at hotel receptions. I’m thinking that tourists would be up to reading a romance taking place on the island they’re visiting. At least the women!

    I went with a local printer because it was less time consuming. Now that I have prepared the material for them, I think it will be easy to upload to CS.

    As for your books, Molly, I would certainly get them in print and will so, once you decide–provided the capital controls are lifted here in Greece. I love my Kindle (actually my Kindle app on iPad as Dena pointed out) but if I decide I love a book, I have to have its physical form in my bookcase. Very often, I just grab a book and open a page at random and read, while I’m waiting for a phone call or for the water to heat up. I’ve never scrolled down my Kindle library list to find an ebook and open it just to look at it…

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      Congrats on your print version, Maria, and what a great idea about leaving the hardcopy at hotels – another great, proactive marketing idea. I agree, I buy the book in print if I fall in love with it on the Kindle. We’re all jealous of your upcoming holiday, by the way – have a wonderful time!

  15. Sue Coletta July 21, 2015 at 3:21 am #

    As a reader, I prefer ebooks because most of my reading is done in the early morning so the lit background works for me. As a writer, I can’t imagine anything more satisfying that holding your hard work in your hands. I can hardly wait until mine comes out in print. Interesting post, Molly.

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 7:50 am #

      Sue, we can hardly wait, either! Mwah!

  16. Kim Wenzler July 21, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Hi Molly,

    As usual, great post! My book is available in ebook and paperback form. I found it easy to have them available on Createspace and have ordered a bunch to give out. I’ll definitely do it again for the next one.
    What surprised me was when I was told a few libraries on Long Island now carry my book!

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 8:04 am #

      Thanks Kim – and how cool is that!! – Any idea how the libraries found you?

  17. Connie Rossini July 21, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    I’m glad some others mentioned the differences in genre. As you know from past comments, i currently write nonfiction. My first book is 1-y-old this month. Second came out in May. Right now I sell 1-2 paperbacks per day through Amazon. At my height 6 months ago I was selling about 3 per day. I followed Dean Wesley-Smith’s advice and priced the paperback higher than I originally planned. Online I get about $2 more for paperback than ebook. I also speak at parishes and conferences and get about $11 profit per paperback–enough for me to offer a good discount when I want. My audience is more traditional and they want to keep referencing the books, so many prefer paperback. I’m trying to get my book into the largest Catholic bookstore in the Twin Cities, which also has a popular catalog and online presence. They are seriously considering it. We’ll see how that goes. Bottom line: for most genres of nonfiction, paperback is a must and well-worth the effort. I used Joel Friedlander’s templates for my second book and Derek Murphy’s cover templates. Less than $200 for those templates together and very easy to use. I can use them for all my future books too.

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      Great points, Connie, congrats to you on your numbers and thank you so much for sharing this helpful information! Fingers crossed for you about the bookstore.

  18. iGO eBooks® July 21, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    I would in no way wish to denounce the printed book! There is nothing nicer than handling the tactile, that is the book. I am of a generation that has grown with printed books from school to college to Uni, to work & leisure but I am a realist that, like all of us, we are witnessing a new era where technology, like of loath), is introducing a new format that is the eBook.

    In a number of ways I find this exciting in that it has opened up a new world to people who would not otherwise read books, neigh even access books in third worlds and where literacy is an important part of reading to learn, and by this learning to write!

    It should not pose a threat. We have witnessed where huge companies such HMV who maintain a stance of tradition in records and CD’s and initially would not embrace the technology that was mp3’s and when for bust because of it. The publishing industry should have already learnt its lesson when it maintained a stance of hard production print when the embryo of technology broad in Desk Top Publishing and because of that we sadly saw the major part of the print industry diminished.

    ePub, ida, or whatever the format will eventually be, (again almost like the ‘70s argument of Betamax verses VHS), this increases the range and depth of books being published and opens up the exciting prospects of so much for future generations.

    Both formats are here to stay but I can envisage a 22nd Century where print books in the home will become less, mostly as an aesthetic piece of décor to create a conversational piece at dinner parties, (reduce space and dust cleaning), and confined to the tablet. Libraries will follow to reduce costs and able to offer a great range via a major database.

    It is not what I am advocating, nor necessarily what I want – but it is the future and if both formats are to continue, they need to embrace each other and co-exist. The alternative is neither good for the publishing industry and certainly not for the ardent readers!

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      Yes, time marches on and we must keep pace. Great points and there’s room for both formats – as you said, whether we like it or not 🙂 THANKS!

  19. Debbie A. McClure July 21, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    I have to agree with you that although I love my print books (what writer doesn’t), e-books have become a staple in the reading/publishing world. When asking readers their preference, I’m hearing the same split you are. I’ve noted that readers in the 40 yrs and up range seem to prefer print, whereas younger readers prefer ebooks. As in any business, you have to ensure the consumer’s needs are met and that the product matches the times and technology. Of course I believe this expansion into new territory is good for both readers and writers. It’ll be interesting to see where the future leads us.

    • Molly Greene July 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      Thanks, Debbie. I suspect reading and publishing-related tools will come into being no one has even thought of yet. Hologram books that give the reader the sensation of holding the real thing? We’ll see!

      • iGO eBooks® July 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

        @ Molly : Yes, we have the embryo of 3D and hologram books as well as the ability through iBooks to embed video and animation – actually exciting for very young children to get them engaged and reading – perhaps not what we all want when relaxing in the armchair?

    • iGO eBooks® July 21, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      @ Debbie : There is nothing inherently wrong with preferring the print book – it is what a sizeable proportion of generations have been brought up with. The important thing is the content ad that you feel relaxed to enjoy.

  20. Barry Knister July 22, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Molly– Very good post, thank you.
    JUST BILL, my first self-published book was done the old-fashioned way: I hired a book designer, arranged for a print run, etc. Most of those books are still in cartons in the basement. Excepting a couple hundred, the rest were given away, and yielded nothing but a charitable-donation tax break.
    The problem as I now see it (we get too soon old, too late smart) is one of distribution: I never figured that one out.
    But my new suspense novel DEEP NORTH is both a Kindle ebook and a CreateSpace print book. Few of the costs I incurred before figure with this Print-On-Demand book. I can order physical books of Deep North at an author’s rate of slightly more than one third of the cover price, and send these to reviewers, sell them at readings, offer them in giveaways, etc. I can discount them or do what I like. Aside from editing costs, formatting and professional cover design (I would do all these things with or without a print edition), my costs are very small.
    In other words, with the advent of POD publishing, I can’t see any serious downside to writers putting out print copies at the same time they issue a new ebook.

    • Molly Greene July 22, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

      Thank you so much, Barry, and I agree with you on several points – getting smart after the fact, as I’ve done the same; and that there is no downside to creating a print book, as long as costs are contained. I don’t get out in the world much, don’t do print book signings or giveaways, and don’t use reviewers who require print books. It’s a time issue for me, I think. Or maybe I’m just lazy. I haven’t come up with a compelling reason to take the time to create print! But it’s on my bucket list.

  21. Gloria Chadwick July 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    Hi… Just wanted to share what I’ve experienced with print vs. ebook… My print books consistently outsell my ebooks by three to one in favor of print.

    • Molly Greene July 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Gloria – thanks! Nonfiction or fiction, and if fiction, which genre?