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Citing books: APA (6th ed.) citation guide


This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. It provides selected citation examples for common types of sources. For more detailed information please consult a print copy of the style manual available at the SFU Library and at the SFU Bookstore.

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General reference form for print books:
Author, A. (year). Title of the document. Location published: Publisher name.
General reference form for electronic books:
Author, A. (year). Title of document. Retrieved from url   OR   Author, A. (year). Title of document. doi:xxxxxxx

One author, print or electronic (6.11, pp. 174-175)

Reference in text example:

(Walker, 2000)
(Walker, 2000, p. 62) [when quoting]

Reference list example:

Monro, V. (1835). A summer ramble in Syria: With a Tartar trip from Aleppo to Stamboul (Vol. 1). Retrieved from

Schiraldi, G. R. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth [Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi:10.1036/0071393722

Walker, L. E. (2000). The battered woman syndrome (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.


  • If you retrieved an e-book from a database (e.g. Books24x7, Google Books, Wiley), add the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) if available, at the end using the format: “doi:xxxxxxx” (Rule 6.32, p. 191).
  • Can't find the DOI? DOI Lookup.
  • If there is no DOI assigned, give the URL of the publisher's home page in place of the DOI. You may need to do a quick web search to locate the home page if you found the book in a library database (e.g. ebrary, Books24x7). There is no period at the end of the URL.

Multiple authors (6.12, pp. 175-176)

Reference in text example:

(Bucher & Manning, 2006)
(Bucher & Manning, 2006, p. 138) [when quoting]

(Sharp, Peters, & Howard, 2002) [first use]
(Sharp et al., 2002, p. 76) [subsequent use - when quoting]

Reference list example:

Bucher, K., & Manning, M. L. (2006). Young adult literature: Exploration, evaluation, and appreciation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Sharp, J. A., Peters, J., & Howard, K. (2002). The management of a student research project. Aldershot, England: Gower.


  • When a work has two authors, cite both names every time the reference occurs in text.
  • When a work has three, four or five authors, name all authors the first time the reference occurs; in the first subsequent citation use only the first author, followed by "et al." and a year. If you mention the same work again within one paragraph, omit the year. E.g.:
    • the first time: Smith, Jones, Pearson and Sherwin (1990) found...
    • the second time, as a first citation per paragraph: Smith et al. (1990) found...
    • mentioned again within the same paragraph: Smith et al. found...
  • For six or more authors,  cite only the last name of the first author followed by "et al."
  • When a work has two or more authors, use the word and in running text and an ampersand & in parenthetical material, in tables, captions, and in the reference list. E.g.:

as Bucher and Manning (2006) demonstrated ...
as has been shown (Bucher & Manning, 2006) ...

  • In the reference list, invert all authors' names and give last names and initials for only up to and including seven authors. When authors number eight or more, include the first six authors’ names, then three ellipses (…), and add the last author’s name (Rule 6.27, p. 184).

No author or editor (6.15, pp. 176-177)

Reference in text example:

(Geological field trips in southern British Columbia, 2003)
According to the definition [....] (Geological field trips in southern British Columbia, 2003, p.5) [when quoting]

Reference list example:

Geological field trips in southern British Columbia. (20 03). Vancouver, BC: Geological Association of Canada, Cordilleran Section.


  • When a work has no author, cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year.
  • Within the body of the paper italicize the title of a book, brochure, or report and capitalize all major words in titles. For example:

In his book Greek Political Thought, Balot (2006) argued that [...].

  • For in text, you may use a few words of the title if the title is too long.

Organizations or groups as authors (6.13, p. 176)

Reference in text example:

(National Council of Welfare, 2001)
(National Council of Welfare, 2001, p. 17) [when quoting]

(National Fire Protection Association [NFPA], 2009) [first use]
(NFPA, 2009) [subsequent use]
(NFPA, 2009, p. 19) [subsequent use - when quoting]

Reference list example:

National Council of Welfare. (2001). Poverty profile 2007: Methodology, definitions and information sources. Ottawa, ON: Author. Retrieved from

National Fire Protection Association. (2009). Fundamentals of fire fighting skills (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.


  • An "Organization or Group as Author" may be a corporation, an association, a government agency, etc.
  • In the first example above, author and publisher are identical: 'National Council of Welfare'. In such cases use the word "Author" as the name of the publisher.
  • In the second example above, author and publisher are different. Provide the publisher if it is different from the author.
  • The names of some group authors can be spelled out in the first citation and abbreviated in subsequent citations as long as the group can be located in the reference list without difficulty (i.e. the name is long and the abbreviation is easily understandable or well-known). If the name is short or the abbreviation difficult or non-standard then write out the full name. Like the second example, use square brackets in the first citation to denote the abbreviation.
  • Always use the full name in the reference list.

Chapter – different authors in edited book (6.27 p. 184)

Reference in text example:

(Sharp & Eriksen, 2003)
(Sharp & Eriksen, 2003, p. 126) [when quoting]

Reference list example:

Sharp, S. F., & Eriksen, M. E. (2003). Imprisoned mothers and their children. In B. H. Zaitzow & J. Thomas (Eds.), Women in prison: Gender and social control (pp.119-136). London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.


  • In the example above, 'Sharp & Eriksen' are the authors of the chapter 'Imprisoned mothers and their children', published in the book 'Women in prison: Gender and social control'.
  • One editor - use the abbreviation (Ed.). More than one editor - use the abbreviation (Eds.).
  • For a book with no editor, include the word 'In' before the book title.