How to cite a textbook in APA

APA textbook citation

The citation format for textbooks follows the same rules that apply to a book citation in general. Since textbooks are often revised and republished, it is important to make sure you reference the actual edition of the book you have in hands. If the front cover of the textbook lists editors instead of authors, make sure you use the APA citation format for an edited book.

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

  1. Author(s) of the textbook: 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 textbook: 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 textbook in APA style 6th edition:

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

APA reference list examples

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


A popular textbook in psychology written by one author

Myers, D. G. (2012). Psychology in modules (10th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

A behavioural research textbook written by two authors

Cozby, P. C., & Bates, S. (2017). Methods in behavioral research (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
apa cover page

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

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