How Do You Cite a Book in a Paper?

Citing a book requires four key components – author, title of book, publisher and date of publication.

If there are multiple authors listed, list them in alphabetical order as they appear on the book cover. Otherwise use last name first name format.

Title of Book

Book citations should begin with the title in italics and should include author last name and publication year in brackets. However, depending on the situation such as multiple authors or edited collections where more appropriate formatting styles may be more beneficial; alternative formats could include using boldface for instance.

Citing an anthology or collection should begin by including its title italicized and then its editor(s). If there are multiple editors, use “Ed.” instead. Finally, provide its date of publication after each editor name: Gillespie, Paula and Neal Lerner’s The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring published by Pearson 2000 should follow as an example of such a citation format.

If the book has more than one edition, the edition number should be indicated within parentheses after its title. If there are more than two editors involved, first editor should be listed first while subsequent authors’ last names should be alphabetized alphabetically; for three or more authors you should use “et al,” meaning and others in Latin; an example would be Wysocki Anne Frances’ Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding Composition Courses Utah State UP 2004 is one example where this was done correctly.

Citing translated works can sometimes require noting the name and translation details in parenthesis, especially when dealing with non-native authors who have used various translation techniques to write their books. When doing this, start with the title of the work in its usual order before including its translator’s name in parenthesis: Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason translated by Richard Howard for Vintage-Random House 1988

Finalize your citation by including the page number or range where the information came from in your paper, particularly if using an electronic source like an online library or database.


Authors of books may be individuals, organizations, or companies. When multiple authors contribute significantly, you should include them all in your bibliography even if only one made significant contributions. You can determine who gets listed first by considering contributions made by each one or looking at sorting order in the book itself; otherwise you can list equal contributors’ last names separated by commas and using “and” or “et al”

When there is only one author, place their name in italics and sentence case, followed by their year of publication, book title and publisher information. If there is a DOI associated with their work, be sure to include it at the end of your reference section.

If the book features a subtitle, include it italics after listing its author in sentence case. If there is an editor or narrator associated with its publication, note this information within parentheses after listing its publisher name.

Some books contain multiple editors, so when creating the reference for them it is essential that all editors are included. If their order of contribution to the book can be determined using last names in-text citation and italicized author names at the end. Alternatively, if it is an organization and its editor/author are two different people you can simply include their first word as part of author references.

If the book you’re citing is an electronic one, include all of the same information in your reference but include its URL at the end. For more help citing electronic books, see Purdue OWL website’s E-books section; it offers useful examples and advice. You might also check out APA Style Blog’s advice column.


When creating a book citation, two important pieces of information to include are its author and publisher. Other details may vary between citation styles – some require that publication dates be included within the entry while others place them after or at the end. Some also allow different punctuation to indicate multiple editions of a book.

Citations techniques vary; for a basic citation, include the author’s last name and year of publication following the title of their book in brackets. When citing edited works or translations with multiple editors (for instance: Crowley and Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students 3rd Ed Pearson 2004 and Jane Eyre Ed. Margaret Smith Oxford UP 1998 are two examples).

Citations may indicate the date of publication either directly after an author’s name, in brackets, or at the end. Either way, make sure to capitalize the first letter of any words within titles not part of a publisher’s name, such as articles (A, An, and The), abbreviations for business activities (e.g. Books House Press), or descriptive terms (e.g. Books House Press).

If the work in question appears in an anthology or collection, include the name and publication date of its editor in brackets after its title, followed by “Ed.” or (for multiple editors) “editors.” For instance: Hill, Charles A. and Marguerite Helmers were editors for Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 2004 book: Defining Visual Rhetorics while Smart, I.M. was responsible for Fun with Psychology published by Green Publishing Co in Green Hill Illinois in 2005.

Cite works without an author listed in their title as though written by their translator, listing their name after the title and adding either “By.” (if multiple translators) or (for multiple translations) “translators.” For example: Howard, Richard. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason Vintage-Random House 1988.

Date of Publication

Date of Publication When Citing Works Republished, including in Online Book Catalogs or as Published Books. You should include this date when writing book citations that reference republished works. Usually found on copyright page or top right corner cover of book, publication dates can also be located via web search engines and book catalogs.

Format for Citing Books In order to properly cite books, the format should include author’s last name and initial in italics followed by year of publication in round brackets, title of book followed by publisher name; if subtitle is present after title in parentheses.

If the book has been republished, both its original date and new edition date should be listed, along with publisher name and their new edition publication date in brackets. If an e-book version exists and its publication date differs, this should also be mentioned within text citation along with publisher and website information.

Sometimes a single work may contain multiple authors; in such instances, all contributors should be listed in the main citation for the book; each contribution to it should receive its own separate citation that includes their last name and initials along with publication information and date of publication.

Edited books often contain chapters written by multiple authors. A basic citation would provide the editor’s last name and initial, title in italics, publisher (for instance: Brabant & Mooney 1986) etc.