Q:

How do you cite a textbook?

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Quick Answer

The proper format for a textbook citation depends on the reference style preferred by the author’s instructor or intended publisher; in general, it is necessary to provide the name of the textbook author, the title of the book, the name of the publisher, and the year of publication. Other required details may differ depending on the reference style followed.

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Full Answer

The three most common reference styles for academic writing are those of the Modern Language Association, the Chicago style and the American Psychological Association. As of the seventh edition of its Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the MLA format for referencing a textbook in a "work cited" page is as follows:

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

When including multiple authors, the first author’s name is still listed in the "Lastname, Firstname" format, and subsequent names are listed naturally. Works with more than three authors can be abbreviated by only the first author’s name in "Lastname, Firstname" format followed by "et al."

In the Chicago style's 16th edition, the format does not require the medium of publication:

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

For multiple authors, last names are listed alphabetically in "Lastname A, Lastname B and Firstname Lastname C" format.

In the sixth edition of the APA handbook, the basic format for any book referenced in the APA style is as follows:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of Book. Location: Publisher.

For works by up to seven authors, author names are listed alphabetically by last name in the "Lastname, First Initial. Middle Initial." format separated by commas. For works with more than seven authors, names are listed up the sixth author and followed by an ellipsis.

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