How to Cite a Book in APA Style | Format & Examples

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

A book citation in APA Style always includes the author’s name, the publication year, the book title, and the publisher. Use the interactive tool to see examples.

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Note that the format is slightly different for reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, and for scriptural works like the Bible.

Basic book citation format

The in-text citation for a book includes the author’s last name, the year, and (if relevant) a page number.

In the reference list, start with the author’s last name and initials, followed by the year. The book title is written in sentence case (only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns). Include any other contributors (e.g. editors and translators) and the edition if specified (e.g. “2nd ed.”).

APA format Last name, Initials. (Year). Book title (Editor/translator initials, Last name, Ed. or Trans.) (Edition). Publisher.
APA reference entry Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism. Verso.
APA in-text citation (Anderson, 1983, p. 23)

Ebooks and online books

A citation of an ebook (i.e. a book accessed on an e-reader) or a book viewed online (e.g. on Google Books or in PDF form) includes the DOI where available. If there is no DOI, link to the page where you viewed the book, or where the ebook can be purchased or accessed.

Since ebooks sometimes do not include page numbers, APA recommends using other methods of identifying a specific passage in your in-text citations—for example, a chapter or section title, or a paragraph number.

APA format Last name, Initials. (Year). Book title. Publisher. URL or DOI
APA reference entry Burns, A. (2018). Milkman. Faber & Faber.
APA in-text citation (Burns, 2018, para. 15)

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Citing a chapter from an edited book

When citing a particular chapter from a book containing texts by various authors (e.g. a collection of essays), begin the citation with the author of the chapter and mention the book’s editor(s) later in the reference. A page range identifies the chapter’s location in the book.

APA format Last name, Initials. (Year). Title of chapter. In Editor initials. Last name (Ed. or Eds.), Book title (pp. page range). Publisher. DOI if available
APA reference entry Belsey, C. (2006). Poststructuralism. In S. Malpas & P. Wake (Eds.), The Routledge companion to critical theory (pp. 51–61). Routledge.
APA in-text citation (Belsey, 2006, p. 55).

Multivolume books

Some books come in multiple volumes. You may want to cite the entire book if you’ve used multiple volumes, or just a single volume if that was all you used.

Citing a single volume

When citing from one volume of a multivolume book, the format varies slightly depending on whether each volume has a title or just a number.

If the volume has a specific title, this should be written as part of the title in your reference list entry.

Eliot, T. S. (2015). The poems of T. S. Eliot: Vol. 1. Collected and uncollected poems (C. Ricks & J. McCue, Eds.). Faber & Faber.

If the volume is only numbered, not titled, the volume number is not italicized and appears in parentheses after the title.

Dylan, B. (2005). Chronicles (Vol. 1). Simon & Schuster.

Citing a multivolume book as a whole

When citing the whole book, mention the volumes in parentheses after the title. Individual volume titles are not included even if they do exist.

Eliot, T. S. (2015). The poems of T. S. Eliot (Vols. 1–2) (C. Ricks & J. McCue, Eds.). Faber & Faber.

Where to find the information for an APA book citation

All the information you need to cite a book can usually be found on the title and copyright pages.

APA book source info

The APA reference list entry for the book above would look like this:

Butler, C. (2002). Postmodernism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.

Frequently asked questions about APA Style citations

When should I cite a chapter instead of the whole book?

When a book’s chapters are written by different authors, you should cite the specific chapter you are referring to.

When all the chapters are written by the same author (or group of authors), you should usually cite the entire book, but some styles include exceptions to this.

  • In APA Style, single-author books should always be cited as a whole, even if you only quote or paraphrase from one chapter.
  • In MLA Style, if a single-author book is a collection of stand-alone works (e.g. short stories), you should cite the individual work.
  • In Chicago Style, you may choose to cite a single chapter of a single-author book if you feel it is more appropriate than citing the whole book.
When should I use “et al.” in APA in-text citations?

The abbreviation “et al.” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors. Here’s how it works:

Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).

Do I need to include the publisher’s location in an APA book citation?

In the 7th edition of the APA manual, no location information is required for publishers. The 6th edition previously required you to include the city and state where the publisher was located, but this is no longer the case.

When should I include the edition in an APA book citation?

If you’re citing from an edition other than the first (e.g. a 2nd edition or revised edition), the edition appears in the reference, abbreviated in parentheses after the book’s title (e.g. 2nd ed. or Rev. ed.).

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr and reads a lot of books in his spare time.


February 27, 2022 at 1:06 PM

Dear Scribbr Team,

Thank you for the information. I have two questions and would appreciate your input.

1) I see in the comments that APA recommends against including information about the book series in the bibliography (reference list). This is also my experience with using Zotero, where the book series information is not included in the bibliography. However, if one wanted to include this information, what format would be advisable in the 7th edition of APA?
E.g., in: Progovac, L. (2019). A Critical Introduction to Language Evolution: Current Controversies and Future Prospects (1st ed.). Springer.
where the book series is "SpringerBriefs in Linguistics".

2) There is a book (with ISBN) which I have in PDF format, and according to the information from the book, I would include in my bibliography as:
Palmer, M., Gildea, D., & Xue, N. (2010). Semantic Role Labeling. Morgan & Claypool. (The DOI is also written at the beginning of the book.)
This book is part of the book series "Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies".
However, for some reason, it has been indexed in CrossRef as a journal article and the book series has been indexed as a journal (e.g., So when I enter the DOI in those automatic programs like Zotero, I get the following reference:
Palmer, M., Gildea, D., & Xue, N. (2010). Semantic role labeling. Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies, 3(1), 1–103.
I am wondering how I should cite this work.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
February 28, 2022 at 10:37 AM

Hi Petar,

With your first question, I can't offer much advice since APA just states that you shouldn't include the series title; it doesn't give a format for doing so. You could perhaps add the series title in plain text (no italics) before the publisher name if you think it's essential to include, but again, APA advises omitting it.

For the latter, if you think the form of citation that's being automatically generated is wrong, I'd advise overriding what the generator gives you with the version you think is correct. It could be that the source was published in multiple different forms, or that the information in the generator is simply wrong; either way, the version you read was the book version, so that's what should be cited.


February 22, 2022 at 4:33 AM


I am trying to write a reference for a book and when reading the year and publisher it is a bit confusing. It says it was originally published in 2007 by one publisher and then in 2008 by another. Which year and publisher company do I go by? The most recent?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
February 22, 2022 at 11:38 AM

Hi Abby,

You should usually go by the most recent, as that will be the version you're using. It's always important to cite the version of a source that you actually used.


February 18, 2022 at 8:04 AM

there is a book including different articles. i want to use some sentences from those articles.shall i reference the book or the article? please explain for both in text citation and refrence list.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
February 18, 2022 at 11:31 AM

Hi Maedeh,

For this you should follow the advice on citing a book chapter in the article above.


December 5, 2021 at 12:10 AM

How do I cite (in text citation) from a book with multiple editors and multiple authors? Should I refer to the author of the chapter?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
December 6, 2021 at 3:25 PM

Hi Jason,

If you’ve included a reference entry for the specific chapter (as shown under “Citing a chapter from an edited book” above), then your in-text citation should match the form of the reference entry by listing the author of the chapter. You don’t need to mention the editor in the in-text citation in this case.


November 9, 2021 at 2:25 AM

Is it possible to cite an entire book series, or can you only cite one specific book? Thank you for your time!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
November 9, 2021 at 1:35 PM

Hi Ain,

You can usually only cite one book at a time; APA also recommends against including information about the series in your citations. If you referred to all the books in a series, you would have to list them all separately in your reference list (unless you did so using a single-volume edition of all the books, of course).


Marcia Green
September 10, 2021 at 1:27 AM

How do you cute a book that has 2 authors with the same surname


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
September 13, 2021 at 3:01 PM

Hi Marcia,

You don't have to do anything special to cite a book like that. In your in-text citation, just write both authors' surnames, e.g. (Smith & Smith, 2019). In the reference list, write both names along with their initials as usual, e.g. Smith, J., & Smith, F. (2019). …


March 19, 2021 at 7:35 AM

What should I do if the online book doesn't specify the Author?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 22, 2021 at 1:11 PM

Hi MJ,

See this FAQ for guidance on how to handle sources with no author.


October 26, 2020 at 11:46 PM

Thank you for your help.
It is so useful for my thesis.
I have one question: how should I cite a source in another source?
Thanks for your answer in advance.


Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr Team)
October 27, 2020 at 6:04 PM

Hi Parisa,

It's always best to locate the original source if possible, but if that isn't possible, you can use "as cited in". See our article on citing secondary sources for more info – hope that helps!


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