4 ways to cite a textbook in APA format

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4 ways to cite a textbook in APA format
4 ways to cite a textbook in APA format

Citing a textbook in APA format is essentially the same as citing any other book in APA format. Textbooks often have additional editors and editions; however, you may need to take a few more steps to cite them correctly.


Method 1 of 4: Use APA Style to Cite Author Textbooks

Cite Textbook in APA Step 1
Cite Textbook in APA Step 1

Step 1. Study an entire quote before trying to reproduce it

Before dividing each part, take a moment to review an example of a complete citation in APA format so that you can follow along.

  • Example: Smith, P. (2012). Cut your losses: Online Video Editing and the Wadsworth Constant 3. to ed.). Washington, DC: E & K Editions.
  • This is an example without the specifics: Author's Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year of publication). Book title: Subtitle (edition number). City, State: Editorial.
  • In the specific example, Smith, P. is the author and (2012) is the year the textbook was published. The phrase in italics is the title of the textbook. (3. to ed.) is the edition. Washington, DC is the city where the publisher is located. E & K Ediciones is the name of the publisher.
  • You have to follow this format with the specific information of the book you are trying to cite. Make sure the punctuation is correct, as that matters too.
Cite Textbook in APA Step 2
Cite Textbook in APA Step 2

Step 2. Put the author's name first

Now, we are going to divide the example of the quote into each of its parts. You should start the quote like this: write the author's last name and then the initial of his first name and then the initial of his middle name. Thus: Author, A. A.

  • Put the year of publication in parentheses, after the author's name, and end with a period. Thus: Author, A. A. (Year of publication).
  • Then write the title of the work in italics. Capitalize only the first letter of the title. If there is a subtitle, use a colon, capitalize the first letter, and italicize everything. Thus: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Job title: Subtitle
  • Please include the edition of the book below, but do not italicize it. The edition should be indicated after the title or subtitle, if any, in this way: (5. to ed.).
Cite Textbook in APA Step 3
Cite Textbook in APA Step 3

Step 3. Finish with the location and name of the publisher

For location, use city and state, and use the two-letter postal abbreviation, without periods.

  • Example: New York, NY. Remember not to write the full name of the state, as the punctuation must be exact.
  • When there are several authors, they are handled in the same way and are linked with commas and the ampersand. Example: Helfer, M. E., Kempe, R. S., & Krugman, R. D. (1997). The abused child (5. to ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Cite Textbook in APA Step 4
Cite Textbook in APA Step 4

Step 4. Use an online dating generator

On the Internet you can find sites that will generate the quote in the correct style for you.

  • Keep in mind that quotes from movies, magazines, newspapers, and other materials in the APA style are different from a textbook.
  • These sites will ask you to enter key information, which will include the name of the author, the name of the publisher and its location, among other information.

Method 2 of 4: Use the APA Format for Edited Textbooks and Translations

Cite Textbook in APA Step 5
Cite Textbook in APA Step 5

Step 1. Use the APA format to cite edited books

The main difference here is that you have to indicate (Ed.) When it is a single editor and (Eds.) After the names, when there are several editors.

  • Example: Duncan, G. J. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (Eds.). (1997). Consequences of growing up in poverty. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • When it comes to a book edited with one or more authors write: Plath, S. (2000). The entire diaries. K. V. Kukil (Ed.). New York, NY: Anchor.
  • For papers spanning multiple volumes, write the APA format like this: Wiener, P. (Ed.). (1973). Dictionary of the history of ideas. (vols. 1-4). New York, NY: Scribner.
Cite Textbook in APA Step 6
Cite Textbook in APA Step 6

Step 2. Use the APA format for translated textbooks

In this scenario, the quotes are very similar, but you have to point out that it is a translation.

  • He thus mentions a translation: Laplace, P. S. (1951). A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities. (F. W. Truscott & F. L. Emory, Trad.). New York, NY: Dover. (Original work published in 1814)
  • If applicable, be sure to also include the date of the original work. As you can see, the translated editions are very similar to the original example, but you must indicate who did the translation.

Method 3 of 4: Use the APA Format for Electronic Editions

Cite Textbook in APA Step 7
Cite Textbook in APA Step 7

Step 1. Cite a book you accessed online

If you accessed a textbook online, you have to indicate it like this in the citation. The first part of the citation in an electronic textbook is identical to that in a printed textbook. The only information you should omit is the location and publisher.

  • At the end of the quote you have to indicate the URL link through which you accessed the textbook. The format of the citation is as follows: Last, F. M. (Year of publication). Title of the book. Retrieved from URL.
  • Example: James, H. (2009). The ambassadors. Recovered from
  • For a textbook associated with a program, include the edition of the program. Example: George, D. & Mallery, P. (2002). SPSS for Windows Step-by-Step: A Simple Guide and Reference (4. to ed., update 11.0). Pearson Allyn & Bacon.
Cite Textbook in APA Step 8
Cite Textbook in APA Step 8

Step 2. If you have the doi number, use it

If the e-textbook has a doi number (which is basically like the social security number of a book's e-location), you should include it in the citation.

  • Example: Rodriguez-Garcia, R. & White, E. M. (2005). Self-assessment in results-oriented management: Conduct self-assessments for development professionals. doi: 10.1596 / 9780-82136148-1
  • Doi numbers are usually found on the first sheet, near the copyright, or in the database of the page you used to access the book.

Method 4 of 4: Cite a book within the text proper

Cite Textbook in APA Step 9
Cite Textbook in APA Step 9

Step 1. Write down the origin of the information within the text itself

You should cite the book close to the information you have used in the text of your document.

  • Introduce the author or authors in a sentence. One way to cite an APA textbook is to introduce the author in a sentence. Use only the last name. If there are no authors but an editor, you must indicate their name. End with the year of publication in parentheses.
  • Example: According to Smith, the theory is not solid (2000). Example two: Clark and Hernández believe otherwise (1994).
Cite Textbook in APA Step 10
Cite Textbook in APA Step 10

Step 2. In your article, quote phrases from the text

If you use a phrase or a passage from the textbook, you also have to indicate the page.

  • Indicate the page number at the end of the citation, as indicated (p. Page number).
  • Example: According to Jones (1998), "Students often have difficulty using the APA format, especially the first time" (p. 199).
Cite Textbook in APA Step 11
Cite Textbook in APA Step 11

Step 3. Cite the author or authors, in parentheses, within the text

If you do not feature the author in a sentence, you must include their last name in parentheses after the quoted or borrowed text. If there are multiple authors, name all of them. Place a comma between the author's last name and the year of publication.

  • Example: Thanks to new research, this belief was found to be wrong. (Johnson, 2008).
  • Studies indicate otherwise (Smith, Johnson & Hernandez, 1999).
  • Note that it is not necessary to indicate the page number. However, although the APA style format does not require it, it does recommend that you do so. Example: For first-time learners, APA is a difficult format for citing works (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

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