Jul 17, 2023

How to Cite a Book | APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver Style

Sometimes you don’t want to cite an online or print article but rather an entire book. Citing a book is in principle not different from citing any other source. But, as always, there are subtle differences between academic style guides regarding the information you need to provide and how to present it.

No matter what style guide you follow, book citations (as well as book chapter citations) always include the following details: 

  • author
  • title
  • publication year
  • publisher 

You find all this information on the book’s title and copyright pages. You also need to provide page numbers, guide the reader to the specific passage cited, and check if there are different editions and if any contributors other than the author are named (e.g., an editor or a translator).

Note that when a book contains chapters written by different authors, you need to cite the specific chapter you are referring to rather than citing the entire book. See the sections below for how the different style guides handle this.

How to Cite a Book in APA Style

For APA-style citations, list the author’s last name and initials, the publication year, the Title and Subtitle (in italics, only the first word capitalized), the edition if specified, and the name of the publisher (but not the location). Add a DOI or URL (but not the name of the database) for e-books or books that can be accessed online:

Svendsen, S., & Løber, L. (2020). The big picture/Academic writing: The one-hour guide (3rd digital ed.). Hans Reitzel Forlag. https://thebigpicture-academicwriting.digi.hansreitzel.dk/

An APA in-text citation for a book consists of the author’s last name and the year it was published. Add a page number to refer to a specific quote or paraphrase:

Parenthetical: (Svendsen & Løber, 2020)

Narrative: Svendsen and Løber (2020)

Citing a book chapter in APA

In APA Style, books by the same author(s) should always be cited as a whole, even if you quote or paraphrase from only one chapter.

Ghebreab, S., & Heale, S. (2023). Responsible fashion business in practice: Sustainable concepts and cases across the fashion industry (1rst ed.). Routledge.

To indicate that you have paraphrased a chapter, cite the specific chapter in the in-text citation along with the author and year:

Parenthetical: (Ghebreab & Heale, 2023, Chapter 2)

Narrative: Ghebreab and Heale (2023, Chapter 2) 

APA book citation examples

APA formatAuthor last name, Initials. (Year). Book title: Subtitle (Edition). Publisher. DOI or URL
APA reference list entryCrawford, L. A., & Novak, K. B. (2018). Individual and society: Sociological social psychology (2nd ed.). Routledge. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/curtin/
APA in-text citation(Crawford & Novak, 2018)

To cite a whole edited (rather than authored) book, add “Ed.” or “Eds.” in parentheses after the names of the editors to create an APA book citation:

APA formatEditor last name, Initials. (Ed.). (Year). Book title: Subtitle (Edition). Publisher. DOI or URL
APA reference list entryBrierley, A. (Ed). (2023). The good prison officer: Inside perspectives (1rst ed.). Routledge
APA in-text citation(Brierley, 2023)

You can also generate your APA book citations with our free APA Citation Generator—simply search for a title, DOI, or ISBN to retrieve the required details.

How to Cite a Book in MLA Style

To cite a book in MLA Style, list the author’s name, the Title (in italics and title case), the edition (if specified), the publisher, and the year of publication. If you are citing an e-book, add “e-book” or the specific format (e.g., “Kindle ed.”) before the publisher’s name:

Cogman, Genevieve. The Invisible Library. Kindle ed. Ace, 2016, pp. 43-65.

The corresponding in-text citation only includes the author’s last name and the page number/range:

(Cogman 43-65)

Citing a book chapter in MLA

In MLA Style, if a single-author book is a collection of stand-alone works (e.g., chapters or short stories), you should cite the individual work. To cite only a chapter/part of a book, provide the author and “Title” (in quotation marks), followed by information about the book as a whole and the page range of the cited chapter:

Briam, Carol. “Shifting Gears: Business and Technical Writing.” A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One, 2nd ed., edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2005, pp. 67-72.

The in-text MLA book citation then only lists the author of the specific chapter and the page number of the passage you refer to:

(Briam 69)

MLA-style book citation examples

MLA formatAuthor last name, First name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition, Publisher, Year.
MLA reference list entryKrakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air. Villard, 1997.
MLA in-text citation(Krakauer 89)

Entry in a reference book (bibliography, dictionary): Provide the referenced term (in quotation marks) and the name of the book, but do not include publisher details or page numbers:

MLA reference list entry“Etymology.” The American Heritage Dictionary. 5th ed. 2011.
MLA in-text citation(The American Heritage Dictionary)

Use our MLA Citation Generator to make sure you correctly cite books in your paper!

How to Cite a Book in Chicago Style

Chicago Style citation has two alternative styles: “author-date” and “notes and bibliography style.” Instead of parenthetical citations, the latter uses footnotes that refer to a bibliography at the end of the text providing full source details. 

A bibliography entry for a Chicago book citation lists the author’s name, the Title and Subtitle (in italics and title case), the edition if specified, the location and name of the publisher, and the publication year. To cite an e-book or a book accessible online, add the format (e.g., “Kindle”) or the DOI to the end of the bibliography entry:

Bonds, Mark Evan. Absolute Music: The History of an Idea. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199343638.001.0001 

Citing a book chapter in Chicago Style

In Chicago Style, you can cite a single chapter of a single-author book if you feel it is more appropriate than citing the whole book.

A Chicago book citation of a specific chapter starts with the author, followed by the title of the chapter in quotation marks, the Title of the book (in italics), the chapter’s page range, the location and name of the publisher, and the publication year:

Anzaldúa, Gloria. “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” In Borderlands: The New Mestiza–La Frontera, 53–64. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Book Company, 1987. 

Chicago Style book citation examples

Chicago formatAuthor’s last name, First name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, Year. E-book format.
Chicago bibliography entryHattie, John. Visible Learning: The Sequel: A Synthesis of Over 2,100 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. 1rst ed. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2023. Kindle.
Chicago footnotesLong-form: John Hattie, Visible Learning: The Sequel: A Synthesis of Over 2,100 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement, 1rst ed. (Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2023), 46.
Short-form: Hattie, Visible Learning, 46.
Author-date: Hattie, 2023.

If a book is not attributed to an author on its title page, you can cite the editor or translator, whichever name is listed. 

Chicago formatEditor’s last name, First name, ed. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.
Chicago bibliography entryTorino, Gina C, Rivera, David P, Capodilupo, Christina M, Nadal, Kevin L,  Sue, Derald Wing, eds. Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications. 1rst ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2018.
Chicago footnotesLong-form: Gina C Torino, David P Rivera, Christina M Capodilupo, Kevin L Nadal, Derald Wing Sue, eds.,  Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications, 1rst ed. (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2018), 12.
Short-form: Torino, Rivera, Capodilupo, Nadal, Sue, Microaggression Theory, 12.
Author-date: Torino, Rivera, Capodilupo, Nadal, Sue, 2023.

Still unsure if your citations follow Chicago style? Use our Chicago Style Citation Generator to check!

How to Cite a Book in Vancouver Style

In the Vancouver Style citation system, also known as author–number system, numbers within the text refer to numbered entries in the reference list. All variations of this style follow the same essential logic, while details, such as punctuation, capitalization, and use of italics, can vary widely. It is therefore important to check for adherence to the specific journal guidelines as well as internal consistency within your manuscript/reference list.

Citing a book chapter in Vancouver Style

If the authors/editors of a work are also the authors of all of the included chapters, then cite the whole book rather than a specific chapter. If chapters/parts of a book have individual titles and authors but are included in a collection or textbook edited by others, then you can refer to the relevant chapter/part directly.

Vancouver Style book citation examples

Authored e-book:

Vancouver format1. Author A, Author B. Title of e-book: Subtitle [format]. Place of publication: Publisher; Date of original publication [cited year abbreviated month day]. Available from: URL.
Vancouver website citation1. Sommers-Flanagan J, Sommers-Flanagan R. Clinical interviewing [e-book]. 5th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 2015 [cited 2015 Jun 30]. Available from: https://download.e-bookshelf.de/download/0003/9792/06/L-G-0003979206-0002496656.pdf  
Vancouver in-text citationThe classic book—now in its fifth edition—has been updated with the latest content from the DSM-5, including diagnostic criteria, assessments, and checklists.1

Chapter in an edited print book:

Vancouver format2. Author of Part, AA. Title of chapter or part. In: Editor A, Editor B, editors. Title: subtitle of book. Edition (if not the first). Place of publication: Publisher; Year. p. page numbers.
Vancouver website citation2. Meltzer PS, Kallioniemi A, Trent JM. Chromosome alterations in human solid tumors. In: Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, editors. The genetic basis of human cancer. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002. p. 93-113.
Vancouver in-text citationThe pattern of chromosome alterations in human solid tumors has been found to be decidedly nonrandom.2

Use our Vancouver Style Citation Generator to make sure your book citations are in line with Vancouver style!

Academic Writing Resources

Have a look at our resource articles on how to cite other sources (including website citations, podcast citations, or even ChatGPT citations) to make sure your paper is in the correct format before you press that “submit” button! 


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