How to cite a book in APA Style (6th edition)

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

Interactive APA book citation example

Note that the format is slightly different for reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias.

You can also use our free APA Citation Generator to generate your APA book citations. Just paste the ISBN or DOI and the generator retrieves all the necessary information.

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 other contributors (e.g. editors and translators) and the edition if specified.

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Book title. (Contributor initials, last name, role.) (Edition). City, State/Country: Publisher.
Example Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism. London, UK: Verso.
In-text citation (Anderson, 1983, p. 23)

Ebooks and online books in APA

To cite a book you accessed online, replace information about the publisher with information about the book’s format and location online.

Books accessed on e-readers

A citation of an ebook (i.e. a book accessed on an e-reader) includes the ebook format in square brackets. Add a DOI where available, and otherwise link to the page 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 [ebook format information]. Retrieved from URL or
Example Burns, A. (2018). Milkman [Kindle version]. Retrieved from
In-text citation (Burns, 2018, para. 15)

Books accessed online

A book accessed through a web browser (for example, in PDF form or on Google Books) follows a slightly different format:

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Book title. Retrieved from URL or
Example Brück, M. (2009). Women in early British and Irish astronomy: Stars and satellites. https:/
In-text citation (Brück, 2009, p. 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 Initials. Last name (Ed. or Eds.), Book title (pp. page range). Publisher. DOI if available
Example Belsey, C. (2006). Poststructuralism. In S. Malpas & P. Wake (Eds.), The Routledge companion to critical theory (pp. 51–61). New York, NY: Routledge.
In-text citation (Belsey, 2006, p. 55).

Multivolume books

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 simply 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 (Ricks, C., & McCue, J., Eds.). London, England: 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). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Citing a multivolume book as a whole

If you refer to the book in general, you may wish to cite the whole thing rather than a specific volume. In this case, individual volume titles are not included even if they do exist:

Eliot, T. S. (2015). The poems of T. S. Eliot (Vols. 1–2) (Ricks, C., & McCue, J., Eds.). London, England: 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 page and the copyright page:

Where to find information for an APA book citation

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

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

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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.

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1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
November 5, 2020 at 12:51 PM

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