How to cite a textbook in Harvard

Harvard 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 hand. If the front cover of the textbook lists editors instead of authors make sure you use the Harvard citation format for an edited book.

To cite a textbook 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 textbook: Book titles are italicized. Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. Edition number: 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 textbook book in Harvard style:

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

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


A textbook written by one author

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

A textbook written by two authors

Cozby, P. C., & Bates, S. (2017) Methods in Behavioral Research. 13th edn. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Automatic citations in seconds

Alternative to