Small Business Loans for Ebook Publishers

A 2020 report by the global research company IBISWorld detailing the state of ebook publishing suggests a challenging road ahead. Although the industry ballooned in the early 2010s, its revenue declined 7.1% from 2015 through 2020 as ebooks became less novel. Additionally, the demand for college textbooks – a prominent ebook category – is expected to drop.

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Despite the potential difficulties ahead, there are some silver linings. The pricing disputes prominent in the ebook publishing industry have mostly been resolved, thus potentially leading to a gradual recovery of the aforementioned revenue losses. Additionally, the industry has already shown itself capable of withstanding the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the industry’s overall revenue decline in 2020, ebook sales increased substantially in April 2020 immediately after widespread stay-at-home orders.

Whether you want to plan for the ebook industry’s possible bright future or recover from the industry’s previous contraction, small business loans for ebook publishers can help. Read on to find out how.

Financing Options for Established Ebook Publishers During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

In March 2020, Congress and The White House introduced the CARES Act – and with it, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan program connected small business owners such as ebook publishers with funding to weather the oncoming economic storm.

For the latest, read the SmartBiz Small Business Blog, where you can also find information on loan forgiveness and opportunities. Additionally, you can check the SmartBiz Loans COVID-19 information center, Small Business Loans & Resources in Times of Coronavirus (COVID-19) for guidelines on how to use PPP loans.

Applying for a first or second PPP loan in 2021

The SmartBiz streamlined PPP Loan application can help you fill out your application, upload required documents, and submit them to the bank quickly.**

SmartBiz can help you apply for these funds. We have specialized in SBA loans since 2013 and our network of banks has funded nearly $4 billion in SBA, PPP, and bank term loans.

Whether this is your first or second PPP loan, SmartBiz can help! Businesses with less than 500 employees that are negatively impacted by the pandemic can apply for their first PPP loan.

The program expires on May 31, 2021. No applications will be accepted after that date. Keep an eye on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog for updated information about an extension if approved by congress.

Funding challenges and opportunities for ebook publishers

Given the aforementioned ebook industry contractions, lenders may hesitate to approve ebook publishers as borrowers, and that’s not the only potential obstacle to funding. Ebook publishers face substantial competition from large publishing houses and ecommerce companies – in 2019, nearly half of all ebook sales occurred through Amazon. Lenders aware of this imbalance may balk at funding ebook publishers like yourself.

On the other hand, with pricing disputes resolved and economic growth forecasted, some lenders may see ebook publishers as safe borrowers. These lenders may also, given the aforementioned April 2020 sales figures, see ebooks and their publishers as valuable for people continuing to follow stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of COVID-19. You’ll only know for sure whether or not lenders are currently favoring the industry by applying for small business loans for ebook publishers, including the opportunities detailed below.

Financial options for ebook publishers

Ebook publishers in need of small business funding can choose between SBA loans or non-government opportunities. No two small business loans for ebook publishers will have exactly the same approval rates and periods, but the below details about each major loan type should give you a sense of what to expect.

The SBA 7(a) loan program

Low-cost SBA 7(a) loans are usually your wisest choice when it comes to loan opportunities. SBA 7(a) loans are ideal for small ebook publishers since their rates are low, their terms are long, and their monthly payments are low. You can use these loans to fund:

  • Working Capital Working capital is perhaps the clearest indicator of your ebook company’s wellbeing. It is the difference between your current liabilities and your current assets or the amount of cash you have available for immediate use.
    Negative working capital signifies that you should grow your assets, and you can do so by purchasing new equipment or hiring new employees. SBA 7(a) loans can cover both these expenditures.
  • Debt Consolidation – SBA 7(a) debt consolidation loans can go toward refinancing your ebook company’s current loans. These loans include high-interest business loans, merchant cash advances, short-term business loans, or daily or weekly payment loans.
  • Commercial Real Estate – If you plan to obtain more office space for your ebook publishing company, you can use your SBA 7(a) loan toward this goal. Use your loan to buy owner-occupied commercial real estate or refinance any commercial real estate mortgages you already have.

Advantages of SBA 7(a) loans for ebook publishers

Small business finance experts generally agree that SBA 7(a) loans are the “gold standard.” Their strong reputation stems from their:

  • 10-year terms (25-year terms for commercial real estate loans)
  • Affordable monthly payments
  • Low rates
  • Wide use of funds
  • Lack of prepayment penalties
  • Availability in all 50 states

Requirements for ebook publishers to apply for SBA 7(a) loans

If you and your ebook company meet all the below requirements, you may be eligible for SBA 7(a) loans:

  • Your company must be based in the U.S.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • Your company must be at least two years old
  • Your personal credit score must be above 650
  • You must have no bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last three years
  • You and your company must be on-schedule with all government-related loan repayments
  • Your company must have no outstanding charge-offs, recent settlements, or tax liens

Many lenders have additional requirements that others do not. For example, while many loan providers will demand to see your business plan, SmartBiz Loans will not.


How to apply for an SBA 7(a) loan for ebook publishers

Step 1: Confirm your eligibility as described above. Learn more about SBA 7(a) loan applicant requirements via the SmartBiz Loans page SBA Loan Requirements for Existing Businesses.

To discover how your business financials stack up for funding, use our easy-to-use online tool. SmartBiz Advisor™ helps you track the financial health of your business and learn how banks typically evaluate your business.* SmartBiz Advisor also recommends ways to help you improve your credit and strengthen the financial health of your business as needed. Read feedback from real SmartBiz Advisor users and sign up here.*

Step 2: Gather all your required paperwork, and seek assistance from financial experts such as bookkeepers or accountants if needed. Visit the SmartBiz Loans Guide to SBA Loans to learn more.

Step 3:  Choose your lender. The following considerations are important to keep in mind:


Find clearly outlined interest rates and APRs in your loan terms. If your lender is not upfront with this information, it’s possible your loan provider will hide additional loan provisions, meaning that you could quickly find yourself saddled with a loan that causes more problems than it solves.

Obvious loan terms

Your loan’s fine print should be easy to understand across the board. If not, ask your lender to clarify your total loan amount, prepayment penalties, payment amounts and frequency, and collateral requirements. If you sense that your lender is resistant to sharing this information, seek your small business loans for ebook publishers elsewhere.


Read your lender’s Consumer Affairs, Google, and TrustPilot reviews to figure out whether the lender is a fit for your company. Check that your reviews are by real customers and seek out other ebook publishers among the reviewers – their perspectives are likely most relevant to your needs.


Most loans you take will include interest and repayment fees, but many fees beyond these are hints that it’s time to search for a different lender. You should also confirm that all your fees are due during your loan’s lifetime and before your loan’s funding.


Even the best loan terms may make for an imperfect borrowing experience if your lender doesn’t make its team readily available when you have questions. That’s why you should confirm that your lender will link you with a representative whom you can regularly reach by phone or email. This representative should be thoroughly familiar with your company, application, and the ebook publishing industry.

The SBA 504 loan program

If you need funding for modernization or expansion, the SBA 504 loan program can help. You can use SBA 504 loans to open new locations, upgrade your equipment, or hire new employees.

You can find additional expansion or modernization funding if your ebook company meets the public policy goals of your local community development corporation (CDC). In that case, your SBA 504 loan will cover as much as 50% of your project costs, and your CDC will cover up to 40%. The remaining 10% is yours to cover.

The SBA microloan program

If your ebook company is a very small business (a.k.a. microbusiness) according to the SBA’s definition, you may qualify for funding through the SBA Microloan Program. Microloans are at most $50,000 and can go toward all business needs except debt payments and buying commercial real estate.

Non-SBA loans and other funding options

Although SBA loans are likely your best bet for ebook publisher funding, other options are available. These other options may have shorter terms, higher rates, and larger payments than SBA loans. They include:

Bank term loans

Through bank term loans, your ebook company can receive funding as quickly as it would through SBA loans. And like SBA loans, your bank term loans can go toward debt refinancing or working capital. When looking for bank term loans, ask prospective lenders about repayment terms, potential loan amounts, rates, and (if applicable) prepayment penalties.

Business lines of credit

Business lines of credit are revolving credit lines of a maximum amount proportional to your credit score. Typically, this maximum is less than you would obtain through bank term loans, but unlike with bank term loans, business lines of credit do not require the use of all funds. And since you don’t pay interest on business credit line funds you don’t use, you should only use funds when you actually need them.

You can tap into your business line of credit, which will often lack the collateral requirements of other loan types, as often as needed until it expires. Learn more about why business lines of credit may be less risky than other non-government funding options via the SmartBiz Loans blog Small Business Lines of Credit Pros and Cons.

Business lines of credit are similar to business credit cards in that both funding types are revolving lines of credit. However, only business credit cards potentially come with spending rewards and can be reused after you reach their maximums. Read all about business credit cards via the SmartBiz Loans blog Finding the Right Credit Card for Your Small Business.

Merchant cash advances

If your ebook company takes credit or debit card payments, you may qualify for merchant cash advances (MCAs). These loans come from card providers, and you repay them by sending a small portion of all card transactions back to the provider. You can also choose to pay in standard monthly installments instead.

Although MCAs streamline loan repayment, their high APRs may dissuade some ebook publishers from using them. Learn more about MCAs via the SmartBiz Loans blog What You Need to Know About an MCA.

Why Choose SmartBiz Loans?

Need funding to rebuild your business? Don’t waste time going from bank-to-bank filling out multiple applications. SmartBiz helps you find the best financing for your unique needs whether that’s an SBA loan, Bank Term loan, or other financing.  About 90% of qualified applications we refer to banks are funded and our financial professionals are on hand to answer your questions. Discover if you’re pre-qualified here without impacting your credit scores** and read the SmartBiz 5-star customer service reviews on TrustPilot.

 *The information provided through SmartBiz Advisor, including the Loan Ready Score, is for educational purposes only. SmartBiz Advisor is not a financial or legal advisor as defined under federal or state law. Use of this information is not a replacement for personal, professional advice or assistance regarding your finances or credit history.

**We conduct a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, in processing your loan application, the lenders with whom we work will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and happens after your application is in the funding process and matched with a lender who is likely to fund your loan.

 What you need to know: The information provided through SmartBiz® University and the articles contained therein are for educational purposes only. Use of this information is not a replacement for personal, professional advice or assistance regarding your finances or credit history.