Cathy Aranda
Cathy Aranda

A Writer's Guide to How to Cite a Book | APA, MLA, Chicago and Harvard

11 min read

Published on: Jun 18, 2024

Last updated on: Jul 18, 2024

How to Cite a Book

Ever felt stuck while writing a school paper because of those confusing rules for citing books? Remembering how to write the author's name, the title, and other details can be a real headache. 

Many students go through this struggle. School is tough enough without having to stress about the little details of citing books. It's like having an extra worry on your plate when you're just trying to do your best.

Good news! This guide is here to help!

We'll break down the process of citing books in different citation styles with examples. By the end, you'll know how to cite a book correctly without the worry of citation mistakes.

So, let’s dig in!

How to Cite a Book in APA Style

In the American Psychological Association (APA) style, citing a book involves specific rules to ensure accurate and consistent referencing in your academic work. 

Here's a breakdown of the key guidelines along with examples for how to cite a book - APA 7th edition in different scenarios:

1: Single Author Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author, Year)
  • Reference Entry: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of the Book. Publisher.

Examples: 

(Smith, 2019)

Smith, J. K. (2019). The Art of Writing. Academic Press.

2: Two Authors Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author 1 & Author 2, Year)
  • Reference Entry: Author1, A. A., & Author2, B. B. (Year). Title of the Book. Publisher.

Examples: 

(Johnson & White, 2020)

Johnson, M., & White, S. L. (2020). Research Explained. XYZ Publications.

3: Multiple Authors Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author1 et al., Year)
  • Reference Entry: Author1, A. A., Author2, B. B., Author3, C. C., & Author4, D. D. (Year). Title of the Book. Publisher.

Examples:

(Brown et al., 2018)

Brown, P., Davis, R., Turner, L., & Miller, A. (2018). Science in Focus. Academic Books.

4: No Author Book

  • In-text Citation: Use the first few words of the title and the year.
  • Reference Entry: Title of the Book. (Year). Publisher.

Examples: 

("Understanding APA," 2021)

Understanding APA. (2021). Educational Press.

5: Book Chapter 

  • In-text Citation: (Author, Year, p. PageNumber)
  • Reference Entry: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of the chapter. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of the Book (pp. PageRange). Publisher.

Examples: 

(Johnson, 2018, p. 45)

Johnson, M. (2018). Writing Techniques. In S. L. Editor (Ed.), The Writing Guide (pp. 40-60). Academic Publications.

6: Edited Collection 

  • In-text Citation: (Editor, Year)
  • Reference Entry: Editor, E. E. (Ed.). (Year). Title of the Book. Publisher.

Examples: 

(Johnson, 2017)

Johnson, S. L. (Ed.). (2017). Academic Perspectives. Scholarly Press.

7: Translated Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author, Year, p. PageNumber) or (Translator, Year, p. PageNumber)
  • Reference Entry: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of the Book (Translator, Trans.). Publisher.

Examples: 

(Garcia, 2015, p. 75) or (Smith, Trans., 2015, p. 75)

Garcia, M. (2015). The Story (J. R. Smith, Trans.). Global Books.

How To Cite A Book - MLA Style

In Modern Language Association (MLA) format, citing a book involves specific guidelines to ensure accurate and consistent referencing in your academic work. 

Here's a breakdown of the key rules of MLA citation along with examples for different scenarios:

1: Single Author Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author PageNumber)
  • Works Cited Entry: Author, A. A. Title of the Book. Publisher, Publication Year.

Examples: 

(Smith 45)

Smith, John K. The Art of Writing. Academic Press, 2019.

2: Two Authors Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author1 and Author2 PageNumber)
  • Works Cited Entry: Author1, A. A., and Author2, B. B. Title of the Book. Publisher, Book Publishing Year.

Examples: 

(Johnson and White 58)

Johnson, Mary, and Steven L. White. Research Explained. XYZ Publications, 2020.

3: Three or More Authors Book

  • In-text Citation: (Author 1 et al. Page Number)
  • Works Cited Entry: Author1, A. A., et al. Title of the Book. Publisher, Publication Year.

Examples: 

(Brown et al. 32)

Brown, Peter, et al. Science in Focus. Academic Books, 2018.

4: No Author Book

  • In-text Citation: Use the first few words of the title and the page number.
  • Works Cited Entry: Title of the Book. Publisher, Publication Year.

Examples: 

(Understanding MLA 20)

Understanding MLA. Educational Press, 2021.

How to Cite a Book in Chicago Style

In Chicago style, there are two main citation styles: the Notes and Bibliography system (commonly used in humanities) and the Author-Date system (commonly used in social sciences). 

Here's a guide on how to cite a book in both systems:

Notes and Bibliography System

1: Single Author Book 

  • Footnote: (Author's First and Last Name, Title of the Book (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number)
  • Bibliography Entry: Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Examples: 

(Smith J, The Art of Writing (New York: Academic Press, 2019), 45)

Smith, John K. The Art of Writing. New York: Academic Press, 2019.

2: Two or Three Authors Book 

  • Footnote: (First Author's First and Last Name, Second Author's First and Last Name, and Third Author's First and Last Name, Title of the Book (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number)
  • Bibliography Entry: Author's Last Name, First Name, Second Author's First Name Last Name, and Third Author's First Name Last Name. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Examples: 

(Johnson, White, and Davis, Research Explained (Chicago: XYZ Publications, 2020), 58)

Johnson, Mary, Steven L. White, and Robert Davis. Research Explained. Chicago: XYZ Publications, 2020.

3: Multiple Authors Book 

  • Footnote: (First Author's Last Name et al., Title of the Book (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number)
  • Bibliography Entry: Author's Last Name, First Name, et al. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Examples: 

(Brown et al., Science in Focus (Boston: Academic Books, 2018), 32)

Brown, Peter, et al. Science in Focus. Boston: Academic Books, 2018.

Author-Date System

1: Single Author Book (Author-Date System)

  • Footnote: (Author's Last Name Year, Page Number)
  • Bibliography Entry: Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Examples: 

(Smith 2019, 45)

Smith, John K. The Art of Writing. New York: Academic Press, 2019.

2: Two or Three Authors Book (Author-Date System)

  • Footnote: (First Author's Last Name, Second Author's Last Name, and Third Author's Last Name Year)
  • Bibliography Entry: Author's Last Name, First Name, Second Author's First Name Last Name, and Third Author's First Name Last Name. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Examples: 

(Johnson, White, and Davis 2020)

Johnson, Mary, Steven L. White, and Robert Davis. Research Explained. Chicago: XYZ Publications, 2020.

3: Four or More Authors Book (Author-Date System)

  • Footnote: (First Author's Last Name et al. Year, Page Number)
  • Bibliography Entry: Author's Last Name, First Name, et al. Book’s Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year Published.

Examples: 

(Brown et al. 2018, 32)

Brown, Peter, et al. Science in Focus. Boston: Academic Books, 2018.

How to Cite a Book in Harvard Style

In Harvard referencing style, the reference list format citation includes the following elements: author(s) or editor(s), publication year, title of the book (in italics or underlined), place of publication, and the name of the publisher. 

Here's how you can cite a book in Harvard style:

1: Book with a Single Author

  • In-text Citation: (Author's Last Name Year)
  • Reference Entry: Author's Last Name, Author's Initial(s). (Year) Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Examples: 

(Smith 2019)

Smith, J.K. (2019) The Art of Writing. New York: Academic Press.

2: Book with Two or Three Authors

  • In-text Citation: (Author1's Last Name, Author1's Last Name, and Author2's Last Name Year)
  • Reference Entry: Author1's Last Name, Author1's Initial(s), Author2's First Name Last Name, and Author3's First Name Last Name. (Year) Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Examples: 

(Johnson, White, and Davis 2020)

Johnson, M., White, S.L., and Davis, R. (2020) Research Explained. Chicago: XYZ Publications.

3: Book with Four or More Authors

  • In-text Citation: (Author1's Last Name et al. Year)
  • Reference Entry: Author1's Last Name, Author1's Initial(s), Author2's Last Name, Author2's Initial(s), Author3's Last Name, Author3's Initial(s), et al. (Year) Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Examples:

(Brown et al. 2018)

Brown, P., Davis, R., Turner, L., et al. (2018) Science in Focus. Academic Books.

4: Book with an Editor

  • In-text Citation: (Editor's Last Name Year, ed.)
  • Reference Entry: Editor's Last Name, Editor's Initial(s) (ed. or eds.). (Year) Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Examples: 

(Smith 2017, ed.)

Smith, J.R. (ed.) (2017) Academic Perspectives. Scholarly Press.

5: Book with an Organization as the Author

  • In-text Citation: (Name of the Organization Year)
  • Reference Entry: Name of the Organization. (Year) Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Examples: 

(Educational Association 2021)

Educational Association. (2021) Understanding Harvard Style. Academic Press.

Expert Tip

Check out our blog on citation examples to get various other examples of citations according to different citation styles. 

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Cathy Aranda

WRITTEN BY

Cathy Aranda (Mass communication)

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at PerfectEssayWriter.ai, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at PerfectEssayWriter.ai, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

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