When the writing is over and done with, your paper is still far from being ready for submission. Now you have to format it following the guideline from your instructor or your writing center and, of course, furnish it with the correct APA citation list. This may not be the most important stage of the work but it is still significant since the points might be taken from you for not doing the formatting properly and not providing a proper APA citation for a book you’ve been quoting in a paper.
How do you cite a book in APA and what APA even means? APA stands for the American Psychological Association, which developed a style guide named Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Initially, it was aimed at books and scholarly articles in the field of Psychology, but thanks to the simplicity of its reference citation style and high standards for language use, the APA style guide became influential and, over time, the default for academic documents in many other fields.
How Do I Cite a Book in APA for My References List
Regardless of the type of your paper, the correct way to cite the book in the References is the same with slight differences that depend on the type of the book you are citing.
- For example, this is how to do APA citation for a book, which was traditionally printed:
Last Name of the Author, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year Published). Title in sentence case. City, State: Publisher.
- the title should be italicized
- only the first word of the title and subtitle, along with proper nouns should be capitalized
- each book, even if it is a book by the same author, should be formatted as a stand-alone paragraph, for example:
Sharer, R. J. (2006). The ancient Maya. California: Stanford University Press
Sharer, R. J. (2009). Daily life in Maya Civilization. Westport: Greenwood Press
- For a journal article, the order will be very similar to the printed book:
Last Name of the Author(s), Initial(s). (Year Published). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume (Issue), page numbers (without page abbreviations). OR Retrieved from URL of journal home page [if available]
Denny, H., Nordlof, J., & Salem, L. (2018). “Tell me exactly what it was that I was doing that was so bad”: Understanding the needs and expectations of working-class students in writing centers. Writing Center Journal, 37(1), 67–98.
If you don’t want to waste your time formatting every reference, there are apps that do it automatically, setting the essay writer free from, let’s admit it, a rather tedious task. However, they aren’t flawless and don’t always have full data on every book under the sun. Therefore, read on to learn how to do old-school by-hand citation for the books that deviate from the classic pattern described above.
APA Book Citation with Edition Number
Some books enjoy popular demand and can be republished multiple times. Usually, there is no need to specify the number of edition either in the footnotes or in your complete list of References, since you already have a publication year. However, is some cases it might be important. In this case, put the edition in parentheses after the title.
- For example, in the APA citation edited book will look like this:
Smith, P., & Ragan, T. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons.
How to Cite a Book in an Essay APA for Other Types of Sources
However, print editions do not exhaust the list of possible sources. For example, how to write an APA citation for a book that has never been published and exists only as a manuscript? What about an online book or a presentation in a TED Talks series? In our database, you will find many examples of essays that use current sources – e-books and multimedia included. Don’t worry, everything can be cited properly.
- For the e-book, the citation looks the following way:
Last Name of the Author, First Name Initial. (Year Published). Title of the e-book. [Device/platform version]. Publisher name. DOI or URL (if applicable)
Haslam, S. (2003). Research methods and statistics in Psychology (SAGE Foundations of Psychology series) [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com
- For a presentation with an online source, these are the data required for proper APA citation:
Last Name of the Author(s), Initial(s). Title of presentation, Title of the conference. Conference/talk Organization Name, Location. URL (if applicable)
Bailey, C. (2019, April 5). How to get your brain to focus. TEDxManchester. TEDx conference, Manchester, U.K. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu4Yvq-g7_Y
- For a piece of online content or a website:
Last Name of the Author(s), Initial(s). (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL
Price, D. (2018, March 23). Laziness does not exist. Medium. https://humanparts.medium.com/laziness-does-not-exist-3af27e312d01
APA Book Citation: Multiple Authors
The first such case is when you have fit into your APA book citation two authors or more. Then you have to list them all in the order they appear on the title page, separating their names with commas, and using ampersand instead of “and”.
- Here is how citations with several authors should look:
Bertho, M., Crawford, B., & Forgarty, E. A. (2008). Impact of globalisation on the U.S: Culture and society. New York: Greenwood Publishing.
However, according to the new 2019 rules, there should be no more than twenty names in your citation. Therefore, if you have to cite a book that has more than twenty authors, list the first 19 authors’ names, put an ellipsis instead of the remaining names, and then end with the last author's name without an ampersand. Here is how it will look:
Pegion, K., Kirtman, B. P., Becker, E., Collins, D. C., LaJoie, E., Burgman, R., Bell, R., DelSole, R., Min, D., Zhu, Y., Li, W., Sinsky, E., Guan, H., Gottschalck, J., Metzger, E. J., Barton, N. P., Achuthavarier, D., Marshak, J., Koster, R., . . . Kim, H. (2019). The subseasonal experiment (SubX): A multimodel subseasonal prediction experiment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 100(10), 2043-2061. https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0270.1
Sometimes you don’t have a list of authors’ names, but instead have a group author – an organization, government agency, etc. This is often the case for dictionaries and encyclopedias, for example.
When this happens, just use the name of the organization in lieu of the author’s name.
- For example, an entry from a dictionary should be cited like this:
Merriam-Webster. (2008). Braggadocio. In Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.
When the book has no author (the author is unknown), just skip this part and start your citation with the title of the book. Do not use Anonymous instead of the name, unless the book is signed “Anonymous”.
How to Cite a Reference Book in APA within the Text
What if you need to put a source inside the text of your essay? A full-blown APA book reference citation would be rather cumbersome and disruptive. Luckily, the APA guide has a section devoted to recommendations on how to cite a book title in APA in-text.
- For a print book, an e-book, a journal or a magazine article, and even for a piece of online content the last name(s) of the author(s) and a year of publishing put in parentheses suffice. You can add a page number if you want to be precise with your quotation. If will look like this:
(McQueen & Knussen, 2006, p. 48)
- For works with three and more authors, you should use the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” (Stands for Latin et alia, which means “and others.”)
(Kernis et al., 1993)
- If the book doesn’t have an author, cite it by the title
Of course, these are just the very basics of the detailed recommendations listed in the APA style guide. If you still have questions, you can always contact our support team or head to the official website of the American Psychological Association at apa.org
We hope that this task now seems less daunting to you. Happy citing!