How to cite a book in APA

APA book citation

To cite a book in a reference entry in APA style 6th edition include the following elements:

  1. Author(s) of the book: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J. D.) of up to seven authors with the last name preceded by an ampersand (&). For eight or more authors include the first six names followed by an ellipsis (…) and add the last author's name.
  2. Year of publication: Give the year in brackets followed by a full stop.
  3. Title of the book: Book titles are italicized. Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalised.
  4. Edition number: Include information about the edition if it is not the first.
  5. Place of publication: List the city and the US state using the two-letter abbreviation. Spell out country names if outside of the UK or the USA.
  6. Publisher: Give the name of the publisher but omit terms, such as Publishers, Co., and Inc. Retain the words Books and Press.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a book in APA style 6th edition:

Author(s) of the book. (Year of publication). Title of the book. (Edition number ed.). Place of publication: Publisher.

Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the APA style guidelines in action:

Examples

A book with one author

King, S. (1986). It. New York, NY: Viking Press.

A book with two authors

King, S., & Straub, P. (1984). The Talisman. New York, NY: Viking Press.

A book with three authors

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2013). Fundamentals of Physics (10th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Specific edition of a book

Axler, S. (2015). Linear algebra done right (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

APA in-text citations

General APA in-text citations follow the pattern (Author, Year of publication).

If you need to in-text reference a specific page or a range of pages in a book, you can do so easily in this form (Author, Year of publication, p. Page number) or (Author, Year of publication, pp. Page range).

The same principle applies to in-text referencing of a whole chapter in a book: (Author, Year of publication, Chapter number).

Examples

Here are some examples to illustrate (citing from a fictional book by an author named Smith published in 2009):

Parenthetical citation of a page from a book

The results of the pilot study were later declared breakthrough of the year (Smith, 2009, p. 40).

Narrative citation of a page range from a book

While Smith (2009, pp. 55-57) reported similar results back in 1995, it was only ...

Parenthetical citation of a chapter from a book

The initial idea for the pilot study was coined on a lab retreat (Smith, 2009, Chapter 3).

Narrative citation of chapter from a book

While Smith (2009, Chapter 11) initially failed to interpret the results correctly, ...

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This citation style guide is based on the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition).

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