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How to Cite a Book in APA Format


American Psychological Association, or APA, formatting is a system most commonly used to cite references in the social sciences. The APA citation style for books is simple and may be used to cite textbooks as well as encyclopedias and articles compiled in books.

Reference Page

In APA style, references are included on a reference page or bibliography that follows an article's main text and endnotes, if there are any. The reference page is a list of all items that have been mentioned in the article, as well as any that have been used in research. Citations on a reference page are double-spaced and arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author cited. Any lines of a citation after the first line are indented.

Basic APA Citation Style

Basic citations in APA style list the book's information in following order:

Author's last name, author's first (and middle, if applicable) initial. (Year of publication). Book title: Subtitle (with the first letter of both title and subtitle capitalized). Location of publication: Publisher.

For example: Albright, B.A. (1994). American urbanization: New trends in the 21st century. New York, NY: Routledge.

Indent any lines of your citation after the first line.

Authors, Translations, and Editions

In the case of multiple authors, each author's name is separated by commas, with an ampersand between the second to last and last author's name:

Juza, M., Vargas, L. S., & Karsten, F. (2003). Economics and value. New York, NY: Penguin.

If a work cited has no author, any editors are included in place of the author, followed by "(Ed.)" or "(Eds.)." before the date of publication:

Michaela, R. (Ed.). (1982). Sunlight and rain: Poems of the 12th century. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

If the author is known, any editors are listed after the work's title:

Kenichi, C., & Michiba, M. (1995). Cuisines of the world. Kagi, G. A. & Brown, C. (Eds.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

If the book or article cited is authored by an organization or government agency, the organization's name is used in place of an author:

American Civil Liberties Union. (2001). Civil liberties law: Theories and practices. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

A book or article in translation lists the translator or translators in parentheses following the title of the work. The final translator's name is followed by a comma and "Trans." The original publication date is listed in parentheses after the publisher's name.

Bataille, G. (2011). Guilty. (Kendall, S., Trans.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. (Original work published 1944).

If a work cited is a published edition other than the first, the edition number is included in parentheses (4th ed.) after the work's title. The edition number is not italicized.

Conuel, B. (2008). Theories of the person (4th ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Citing Articles Within a Book

When citing a specific article within a larger published collection, the name of the article follows the author's names and date but is not italicized. Any editors of the book are then listed, followed by the name of the book and the pages on which the article appears:

George, F.T., Pole, C., & Trump, F. (1986). Markets and value: Urbanization and consumption. In K.I. Singer (Ed.), Issues in contemporary economics (pp. 23 - 45). New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Citing an entry in an encyclopedia follows the same rules as an article in a book but does not require editor names. If the encyclopedia is in multiple volumes, the volume number is included in the parentheses following the title, before the pages cited:

Callous, R. (1995). Logarithm. In The Encyclopedia Britannica. (Vol. 36, pp. 492 - 497). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Footnotes and Endnotes

The APA formatting guide generally discourages the use of footnotes or endnotes, as they may incur additional print costs for publishers. Because of this, APA formatting suggests that footnotes or endnotes be used either to include short content notes that would be out of place in the body of a text or to indicate copyright permission for a large section (500 words or more) of quoted material.

A copyright footnote must begin with "Note." This is followed by a book citation, and the following note indicating permissions given: "Copyright (Year) by (Copyright Holder). Reprinted with permission." A copy of the permissions letter obtained from the copyright holder must also be attached to the text.

For example: Note. From American urbanization: New trends in the 21st century by B.A. Albright, 1994, p. 23. New York, NY: Routledge. Copyright 1994 by Routledge. Reprinted with permission.

In-Text Citations

When citing a book within a body of text, the author's name and year of the book's publication are included after the sentence referencing the material, followed by a period, as follows:

The study, conducted over the residents of ten cities, showed dramatic changes in social trends (Albright, 1994).

A work written by multiple authors uses only the first author's name in an in-text citation, followed by "et al.":

Experts in the field disagree as to whether gamification is a positive trend in incentivizing customers (Juza et al., 2003).

If the text directly quotes a section of the book cited, then the page number(s) of the text quoted are included within the parentheses as well:

The study's conclusion showed "consistent and alarming results over all populations tested" (Albright, 1994, p. 23).

If the author's name or the year of publication are included in the text, they do not need to be included in the parentheses:

Albright's (1994) research highlighted dramatic changes in American urban living.

About the Author

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

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