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Is a Book Title Underlined or Italicized When Typing in APA Format?

Updated April 17, 2017

Formatting Book Citations

Citations of books in your Reference List should begin with the last name of the book's author, then the author's initials. Next, write the year of publication within parentheses. After the year, list the title of the book in sentence case -- only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle, if applicable, just as if you were writing a sentence. Italicize the title of the book; don't underline it or any other part of the citation. Finally, list the location, followed by a colon, and then the publisher.

In-Text vs. Citation

You should also italicize the title of a book when you refer to it within the text of your paper. Unlike in your Reference List, however, the title of a book within the text should be in title case. That means you should capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle; all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs; and all words that are four letters or longer. For example, within the text of your paper, you would write "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," but in your Reference List, you would write "Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders."

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About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.