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June 03, 2011

How Do You Cite an E-Book (e.g., Kindle Book)?

Chelsea blog 2

by Chelsea Lee

E-books come in a variety of formats (e.g., Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions, EPub, HTML, and more) and can be read on a variety of devices (e.g., e-readers like the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader, as well as on personal computers and mobile devices through online portals such as NetLibrary, ebrary, and Google Books). This post shows how to cite any e-book in APA Style.

Reference List Entries

The reference list entry for a whole e-book should include elements of author, date, title (with e-reader book type in square brackets if applicable; italicize the title but not the bracketed material), and source (URL or DOI):

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable]. doi:xxxxx

  • If the book was read or acquired through an online library (e.g., Google Books, ebrary, NetLibrary) and not on an e-reader device, omit the bracketed information from the reference.

The reference list entry for a chapter in an edited e-book should be written as follows:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In B. B. Editor (Ed.), Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable] (pp. xxx–xxx). Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In B. B. Editor (Ed.), Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable] (pp. xxx–xxx). doi:xxxxx

  • If the e-book chapter does not have page numbers, omit that part of the reference.
  • To determine whether you need to cite the whole book or just a chapter, please see this post

In-Text Citations

For in-text citations of paraphrased material, provide the author and date, as for any APA Style reference. To cite a direct quotation, also provide page numbers if the e-book has page numbers. If there are no page numbers, you can include any of the following in the text to cite the quotation (see section 6.05 of the Publication Manual, pp. 171–172):

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document; 
  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or 
  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full.

A Note on Kindle Page Numbers and Location Numbers 

As of March 2011, many Kindle books now have real page numbers that correspond to those in print editions (as far as we know, this applies only for Kindle third generation products and going forward). These real page numbers are appropriate to use in academic citation (as are the page numbers of other paginated e-books). Kindle "location numbers," however, should not be used in citations because they have limited retrievability. Instead, for any e-book without page numbers, APA recommends the method described above for citations of directly quoted material.

See these links for further discussion of Kindles, e-books and e-book chapters, and citing unpaginated material, and see Publication Manual section 7.02 (pp. 202–205) for more examples.

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