How to cite books

Need to cite a book for your academic essay? Find out what this actually means and how to do it in the guide below. Short on time? Then why not try the RefME book citation generator – covering over 7,000 styles, we’re sure to have the one you’ll need and will have the whole thing completed in seconds.

What is a book citation?

Book citations are required when there is a specific mention of a source in the main body of your text. Citations alert the reader to a source that has informed your writing.

The exact format of a book citation will depend on the style you need to use, for example, MLA or APA. Check with your academic institution to ensure you are following the right citation style.

How to cite books

Different source types affect the format of your citations, for example, the format of a book citation will be different to that of a website citation. When citing a book, In most cases you’ll need the author’s name, book title, publication date, publisher and place of publication. Some styles will ask you to specify the medium of publication, which is ‘Print’ for all hard copy books.

For more information and to view style-specific examples of citations, visit the styles page and select the style set by your academic institution.

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Book citation examples

APA in-text example:

The sky is blue (Cottrell, 2013).

APA bibliography example:

Cottrell, S. (2013). The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.