How to cite a book in Harvard

Harvard book citation

To cite a book in a reference entry in Harvard style include the following elements:

  1. Author(s) of the book: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J.) of up to three authors with the last name preceded by 'and'. For four authors or more include the first name followed by et al., unless your institution requires referencing of all named authors.
  2. Year of publication: Give the year in round brackets.
  3. Title of the book: Book titles are italicized. Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. Edition: Include the edition number only if it is not the first. End this element with 'edn.' If it is a revised edition abbreviate as 'rev. edn.'
  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.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a book in Harvard style:

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

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


Book with one author

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

A book with two authors

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

Referencing a specific edition of a book

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

A book with four or more authors

Young, H.D. et al. (2015) Sears and Zemansky's university physics. San Francisco, CA: Addison-Wesley.

Note: For sources with four or more authors, you can either cite the first name followed by et al. or include all names if required by your institution.

Including all four names

Young, H.D., Freedman, R.A., Sandin, T.R. and Ford, A.L. (2015) Sears and Zemansky's university physics. San Francisco, CA: Addison-Wesley.

Harvard in-text citations

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).

Harvard in-text examples

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

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

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

To reference a whole chapter in a book, use this format: (Author, Year of publication, Chapter number).

Harvard in-text examples

Some more examples to illustrate (citing from a fictional book by an author named Webber published in 2011):

The initial idea for the pilot study was coined on a lab retreat (Webber, 2011, Chapter 3).

While Webber (2011, Chapter 11) initially failed to interpret the results correctly, ...

Automatic citations in seconds

Alternative to