How to Reference a Book – APA Style
  • 3-minute read
  • 19th September 2015

How to Reference a Book – APA Style

Getting your references right is one of the toughest parts of writing a paper, especially if you’re not experienced at using different citation systems. One option to ensure quality referencing is to have a professional check your work. But to help out, we’ve prepared this guide on how to reference a book using the APA system.

APA Referencing

The APA system is widely used by colleges, journals and academic publishers, particularly in the social sciences. Its basic format combines author-date citations and a reference list, the latter of which should be organized alphabetically.

Referencing a Printed Book in APA

References for print books use the following format, with the title and subtitle in italics and the first letter in the subtitle capitalized:

Surname, INITIALS (Year). Title: Subtitle. Publisher.

A book with a single author would therefore appear like this:

Author, A. N. (2013). Citing sources: How to use APA style. PMP Publications.

If the author’s name is mentioned in the text, the citation should include the year of publication in parentheses after the author’s name:

As stated by A. N. Author (2013), APA style referencing is truly awesome.

If the author is not mentioned in the text, include their surname in the citation:

APA style referencing is easy once you get used to it (Author, 2013).

Quoting a Book in APA style

When quoting a source, in-text citations should include relevant page numbers. If you have mentioned the author’s name in the text, page numbers should be provided in brackets after the quote:

A. N. Author (2013) claims that “APA referencing changed my life” (p. 40).

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If the author’s name isn’t mentioned, give page numbers along with the surname and year after the quoted text:

According to one expert, “the APA system makes life so much easier” (Author, 2013, p. 271).

Books with Multiple Authors

You reference works by two or more authors in a similar way. For example, a book co-authored by A. N. Author and B. A. Writer would appear in the reference list as:

Author, A. N., & Writer, B. A. (2001). Writing together: The ups and downs of collaboration. PMP Publications.

But for a source with three or more authors, the in-text citation is different. Rather than naming all authors, you simply name the first author and then write “et al.,” which means “and others”:

Two is company, three is a crowd (Smith et al., 1985).

You would then give the names of all authors in the reference list.

Republished Books in APA Style

Finally, if you’re citing a republished or reprinted version of the book, make sure to include both the original date of publication and the date of republication:

The work was later reissued (Smith, 1940/1992).

In the reference list, meanwhile, you will need to include the original date of publication at the end of the reference. For instance:

Smith, B. (1992). Some books live forever: A history of republication. Re-Press Inc. (Original work published 1940)

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