As a college student, you probably need textbooks on a variety of subjects. Almost every class requires at least one book, so it makes sense to rent textbooks from an online store.
Once you’ve obtained the textbook, using it seems pretty intuitive. But many students struggle when they have to reference what they read in a writing assignment. This article will teach you how to reference textbooks in the main formats used by U.S. universities.
But first, there are two types of citations: in-text and bibliographic. In-text citations are shortened versions that appear in the body of the text as parentheses or footnotes. Bibliographic citations are full citations in the bibliography of a paper.
A proper citation should help the reader easily trace the information referenced in the essay. All citation styles are careful to provide necessary details, such as the title, the author/editor, the publisher, and page numbers. There are 3 major citation styles used in the U.S.
This formatting style was created by the Modern Languages Association and is generally used by the humanities, especially English. The author’s last name is always the first detail.
MLA also uses the concept of a container: the larger source your source is located in. A container might be the anthology a poem you quoted is in or the website a page you used was part of. This is helpful when citing a textbook, since you may just want to cite a section.
The basic format for a book in MLA:
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.
With a textbook, the editor can stand in as the author, but be sure to clarify.
Example: Graddol, David, editor. Changing English. Routledge, 2007.
If you just want to cite a shorter work from the textbook, use this format:
Last Name, First Name. “Title of Work.” Title of Container, edited by Editor’s Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.
Example: Bryant, William Cullen. “To a Waterfowl.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volume B: 1820-1865. Edited by Nina Baym, Wayne Franklin, Philip F. Gura, and Arnold Krupat. Norton, 2012, pp. 125.
For in-text citations, MLA uses the author, page number format. Place the last name of the author/editor and the page number(s) inside parentheses at the end of the sentence or quote.
Example: (Kravinsky 103-5).
The American Psychological Association created this style for the social sciences. It emphasizes the date of publication, which always appears after the author/editor’s last name.
The basic format for a book in APA:
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
Example: Baxter, C. (1997). Race equality in health care and education. Philadelphia: Ballière Tindall.
As in MLA, you can cite only a part of the textbook:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pages of chapter). Location: Publisher.
Example: O’Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men’s and women’s gender role journeys: A metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York, NY: Springer.
If there is no author, put the editor(s) last name(s) first, followed by (Ed) or (Eds) to clarify.
For in-text citations, APA uses the author, date format. Place the last name of the author/editor and the date of publication inside parentheses at the end of the sentence or quote. If you directly quote the textbook, add page numbers as well.
Example: (Kravinsky, 2003) or (Kravinsky, 2003, p. 96-98).
Chicago and its derived style, Turabian, are used in history and sometimes humanities. Chicago doesn’t use parenthetical citations. Instead, each reference is footnoted at the bottom of the page and has a corresponding bibliographic entry.
The basic format for a book’s bibliographic entry:
Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.
Example: Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin, 2006.
The basic format for a book’s in-text footnote:
- First name Last name, Title of Book (Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication), page number.
Example: 1. Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin, 2006), 99–100.
If you’re citing a shorter work in the textbook, look at these examples to see how to do both citations:
In-text footnote: 6. Muriel Harris, “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers,” in A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One, ed. Ben Rafoth (New Hampshire: Heinemann, 2000), 24-34.
Bibliographic entry: Harris, Muriel. “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” In A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One, edited by Ben Rafoth, 24-34. New Hampshire: Heinemann, 2000.
These instructions and examples should keep you from losing points for an incorrectly cited textbook. Always be sure to check with your professor what format he or she wants you to use. Now, when you rent a textbook from our online store you’ll also know how to cite it correctly!