How to Write a Book Analysis in APA Style

The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is commonly used when writing papers related to social and behavioral sciences. When writing a book analysis, this style guide outlines a general format to ensure you present your findings in a concise, structured manner.

General Format

In APA format, your entire paper must be double-spaced, including your title page, abstract and references. Place a 1-inch margin on all edges of your paper, and use a highly legible 12-point font. At the top of each page, insert a page header with the title of your analysis in all capital letters.

For just this header, limit your title to just 50 characters. This can be abbreviated by only including the vital keywords.

Position the title so it is flush left in the header. Insert page numbers so they are flush right.

Title Page & Abstract

APA format recommends that all papers feature a title page and an abstract before the main body. For the title page, note that your page header should include the words “Running head” followed by a colon and then your 50-character title. To properly format the rest of your title page, list the title of your book analysis, your name and your school’s name on individual lines.

On a new page, write a brief one-paragraph abstract summarizing your book analysis. This page should be titled “Abstract” and include a 150- to 250-word paragraph that introduces your reader to the book, discusses your major observations and provides a conclusion. Do not indent this paragraph.

Main Body & Stylistics

APA format offers guidance on more than just structure. It also advises you on the stylistics of your writing, specifically in your point of view and word choice. When writing in APA style, you can use first person point of view. APA style encourages that you write with the active voice, especially if your book features scientific data.

Throughout your paper, clarity and conciseness are vital. Avoid unnecessary words or overly complex sentence structures. Focus your attention on the specific details. Instead of reviewing the book chapter by chapter, consider and describe the main themes. Include enough background information so your readers understand these themes and then present their strengths and weaknesses.

In-Text Citations

When you paraphrase or quote the book you are analyzing, you must include in-text citations. For the first citation, write the author’s last name and the publication year within parentheses. If it is direct citation, include the page number after the year.


At the end of your paper, list of all your outside sources. With a book analysis, this may just be the one book, so your professor may ask you to feature this information on the first page of your paper instead of on a separate references page.

To properly format a book in APA format, write the author’s last name, a comma, first initial, a period, second initial and another period. Write the publication year in parentheses followed by a period. Next, write the title of the book in italics and a period. Finally, write the city, a comma, state, a colon, publisher’s name and a period. For example:

Franks, A. (2005). Margaret Sanger's eugenic legacy: The control of female fertility. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

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