• 3-minute read
  • 12th July 2015

How to Reference a Book – APA Style

Referencing your sources clearly and consistently is possibly the most important thing you can do when writing an essay. In this post, we offer an overview of how to reference a printed book using the APA system.

APA Referencing

The APA referencing system, designed by the American Psychological Association, is commonly used for academic journals, especially in the social sciences.

It utilises author–date in-text citations accompanied by a reference list at the end of the document, which should be ordered alphabetically and include full publication information for each source cited.

Referencing a Print Book in APA Style

The general format for a print book is:

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

Note that the title and subtitle are in italics and the first letter in the subtitle should be capitalised. A book written by a single author would be presented like this:

Author, A. N. (2015). APA style: Citing your sources. Proofreading Publications.

The in-text citation for this, when the author’s name is mentioned in the text, simply requires giving the year of publication in parentheses after the author’s name:

According to A. N. Author (2015), APA referencing is simpler than it seems.

To cite the same text when the author’s name is not mentioned in the text, just include the surname in brackets alongside the year of publication:

Using APA style referencing is simpler than it seems (Author, 2015).

Quoting a Book in APA Style

It’s also important to include page numbers in your citations when quoting a source directly. With APA referencing, when the author name is mentioned in the text, this involves adding a page number in parentheses after the quotation:

Mr. Author (2015) writes that ‘APA referencing is a simple system to use’ (p. 102).

When the author name is not mentioned in-text, you should include the page number with the surname and year in a citation after the quoted text:

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It is said that ‘the APA system will make your work clearer’ (Author, 2015, p.102).

Works with Multiple Authors

You may also need to reference works by two or more authors. For example, a collaboration between A. N. Author and B. A. Writer would appear as:

Author, A. N., & Writer, B. A. (1997). Teamwork. Proofreading Publications.

The in-text citation for this would then be:

When working together, teamwork is vital (Author & Writer, 1997).

But for a source with three or more 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)

Hopefully this has helped you get your head around the basics of using APA to reference a book in your work. And don’t forget that our academic blog contains additional hints and tips on how to cite sources clearly.

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