How to cite a book in APA Style

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.


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 APA 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.”).

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Book title (Editor/translator initials, Last name, Ed. or Trans.) (Edition). Publisher.
Reference entry Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism. Verso.
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.

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Book title. Publisher. URL or DOI
Reference entry Burns, A. (2018). Milkman. Faber & Faber. https://amzn.to/2ObKrVf
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.

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
Reference entry Belsey, C. (2006). Poststructuralism. In S. Malpas & P. Wake (Eds.), The Routledge companion to critical theory (pp. 51–61). Routledge.
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 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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Is this article helpful?
Jack Caulfield

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

4 comments

MJ
March 19, 2021 at 7:35 AM

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

Reply

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.

Reply

parisa
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.

Reply

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!

Reply

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