How to Cite an eBook From a Library in APA

by Kristie Sweet, Demand Media

Books in electronic form, or eBooks, allow students fast, easy access to research and reading material anywhere from home to the local coffee shop. Libraries can subscribe to various services, in effect adding thousands of eBooks to their catalog. As of early 2013, the New York Public Library contained more than 32,000 eBooks. Properly citing an eBook in your APA style paper requires following the guidelines carefully.


According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Sixth Edition), as with any other book, the in-text citation for an eBook should typically include the author's last name and the year of publication. If you place the author's name in the context of the sentence, follow it up with the date in parentheses, or put both portions in parentheses immediately after the borrowed material. For translations of classical works, indicate the year the eBook was translated. Add a page number for direct quotations from the eBook. For eBooks such as the Bible, the Qur'an, classic poems and plays, write applicable chapter, verse and line instead of page numbers since these pieces use consistent numbering regardless of the format. Most eBooks use page numbers, but if your source does not, use "para." (without the quotation marks) and type the paragraph number you quoted from. Add a comma between all elements in your citation: (Smith, 2010, p. 22).

References Page

Follow the basic format for a book for the entry on the References page, giving author, last name followed by first initial and a period, the publication date in parentheses followed by a period, and the title, italicized, with a period at the end. Instead of adding the city and publishing company, give the name of the digital version in square brackets, such as "[Smithson Digital Library Edition]" followed by a period if the book is a digital version of a print publication. Add the DOI if there is one, writing "doi" (without the quotation marks) followed by a colon and the number. If the eBook does not indicate a DOI or does not have a print counterpart, type "Retrieved from" (without the quotation marks) and the URL for the eBook.

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About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

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