• 3-minute read
  • 24th January 2016

How to Reference an Ebook – Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is used in various academic fields and sets out a system for citing sources. And when writing a paper with Chicago style citations, you may need to know how to cite an ebook.

Footnotes or Author–Date Citations?

The Chicago system is unusual in that it permits two types of referencing, covering both “notes and bibliography” and “author–date” styles. Remember to check your institution’s style guide for advice about which to use.

We’ll look at both styles in the rest of this post.

Ebook Citations: Notes and Bibliography

“Notes and bibliography” citations are most common in the humanities. The basic format uses superscript numbers in the text to indicate a footnote, in which you provide the relevant information for the source you’re citing.

For an ebook, this includes either the format or URL where it can be found:

n. Author Name, Title (City of Publication: Publisher, Year), Format/URL.

For example, the first citation of an ebook for Kindle would appear as:

1. Michelle Bookman, How to Write Ebooks (New York: PMP Publications, 2015), Kindle edition.

Subsequent references to the same source can then be shortened to just the author surname and title:

1. Michelle Bookman. How to Write Ebooks (New York: PMP Publications, 2015), Kindle edition.

2. Bookman, How to Write Ebooks.

If you’re quoting a source, remember to provide the relevant page numbers in your footnote. If no page numbers are available, use a section, chapter or paragraph number instead:

3. Bookman, How to Write Ebooks, 75.

4. Bookman, How to Write Ebooks, chap. 2, para. 13.

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Every cited source cited must be added to the bibliography. The information to provide for an ebook is similar to the first footnote, but the punctuation is a little different and the author’s names are reversed:

Author Surname, First Name. Title. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Format/URL.

For the example above, the bibliography entry would be:

Bookman, Michelle. How to Write Ebooks. New York: PMP Publications, 2015, Kindle edition.

Ebook Citations: Author–Date Style

The “author–date” format is more common in the sciences. When referencing an ebook, in-text citations should include the author surname and year of publication in parentheses:

Writing ebooks is simple (Bookman 2015).

If you’re quoting the source, you should give a page number in citations, too (either in the main citation or after the quoted passage if you have named the author in the text):

Writing an ebook will be “simple” (Bookman 2015, 7).

According to Bookman (2015) ebooks are “easy to write” (7).

You then give full information in a reference list using the following format:

Author Surname, First Name. Year of Publication. Title. City of Publication: Publisher. Format/URL.

For example, we could list an ebook as follows:

Bookman, Michelle. 2015. How to Write Ebooks. New York: Penguin Classics. Kindle edition.

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