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How to Cite a Book in APA Style

Books are fundamental sources in academic research. Citing books in APA style requires specific elements: author’s name, publication year, book title, and publisher. These details apply to both in-text citations and reference list entries. For e-books, include the DOI or URL. Proper citation ensures credit to authors and allows readers to locate the source.

General Structure of an APA Book Citation

An APA book citation typically includes the following elements: the author’s name, the publication year, the title of the book, and the publisher’s information. Each element plays a vital role in guiding readers to the original source. 

Format Example 

Smith, J. A. (2020). The art of research. Academic Press.

Citing a Print Book

Author’s Name

The author’s name should be listed with the last name first, followed by a comma and the initials of the first and middle names. For example: 

Doe, J. H. 

Publication Year

The publication year is typically found on the title page or the copyright page of the book. It should be enclosed in parentheses and placed immediately after the author’s name: 

Doe, J. H. (2019). 

Title of the Book

The title of the book should be italicized. Only the first word of the title, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns should be capitalized: 

Doe, J. H. (2019). Understanding complex systems.

Publisher Information

The name of the publisher should be listed after the title, with no additional formatting. For instance: 

Doe, J. H. (2019). Understanding complex systems. Scientific Publishers.

Citing an E-Book

Differences Between Print and E-Book Citations

While the core elements remain the same, citing an e-book requires additional information such as the DOI or URL. This helps in identifying the exact version of the book accessed. 

If an e-book has a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), it should be included at the end of the citation. If there is no DOI, include the direct URL of the e-book: 

Smith, J. A. (2020). The art of research. Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1234/5678

Example of an E-Book Citation

Smith, J. A. (2020). The art of research (2nd ed.). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1234/5678

Citing a Book with Multiple Authors

How to List Authors Correctly

When a book has two authors, list both names separated by an ampersand. For books with three or more authors, list the first author’s name followed by et al.: 

Smith, J. A., & Brown, L. B. (2020). Advanced research methods. Academic Press.

Using et al.

For sources with three or more authors, use the first author’s last name followed by et al. from the first citation: 

Smith, J. A., et al. (2020). Comprehensive research techniques. Academic Press.

Example Citations for Multiple Authors

Smith, J. A., Brown, L. B., & Taylor, C. D. (2020). Advanced research methods. Academic Press.

Special Cases in Book Citations

Edited Books

When citing an edited book, include the editor’s name followed by “Ed.” in parentheses: 

Johnson, M. A. (Ed.). (2018). Perspectives on social research. Social Science Press.

Chapters in Edited Books

For a chapter in an edited book, include the chapter author’s name, the publication year, the chapter title, the editors’ names, the book title, and the page range: 

Doe, J. H. (2019). Understanding qualitative data. In M. A. Johnson (Ed.), Perspectives on social research (pp. 45-67). Social Science Press.

Translated Books

When citing a translated book, include the translator’s name after the title: 

Freud, S. (2000). The interpretation of dreams (J. Strachey, Trans.). Basic Books. (Original work published 1899)

Audiobooks

For audiobooks, include the narrator’s name and the format: 

Smith, J. A. (2020). The art of research (Narrated by A. Baker) [Audiobook]. Academic Press.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Missing Information

If certain information is missing, such as the publication date, use “n.d.” to indicate no date: 

Smith, J. A. (n.d.). The art of research. Academic Press.

Incorrect Formatting

Ensure every element is correctly formatted, paying close attention to punctuation, capitalization, and italics. Double-checking the details can prevent common errors. 

FAQs

How do I cite a book that has both an author and an editor in APA style?

When citing a book that has both an author and an editor, you should list the author first, followed by the editor’s name in parentheses with “Ed.” For example:
Doe, J. H. (2018). Explorations in psychology. In M. A. Johnson (Ed.). Social Science Press.

How do I properly cite a chapter from an edited book in APA style?

To cite a chapter from an edited book, include the chapter author’s name, publication year, chapter title, the editor’s names, book title, and page range:
Doe, J. H. (2019). Understanding qualitative data. In M. A. Johnson (Ed.), Perspectives on social research (pp. 45-67). Social Science Press.

How can I cite a book with a very long list of authors in APA style?

For books with 21 or more authors, list the first 19 authors’ names, followed by an ellipsis (…), and then the last author’s name:
Smith, J. A., Brown, L. B., Taylor, C. D., … Johnson, M. K. (2020). Comprehensive research techniques. Academic Press.

How do I cite a book that has been translated into English in APA style?

When citing a translated book, include the translator’s name after the book title, followed by the original publication date in parentheses:
Freud, S. (2000). The interpretation of dreams (J. Strachey, Trans.). Basic Books. (Original work published 1899)

Conclusion

APA citations for books include the author’s name, publication year, italicized book title, and publisher. Use the author’s last name and year for in-text citations. Create a full entry in your reference list. For e-books, add the DOI or URL. Accurate book citations support your arguments and maintain academic integrity.

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