Harvard Referencing: Books & e-books

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Harvard Referencing: books and e-books

Basic format to reference a book

The basics of a Reference List entry for a book:

  • Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year.
  • Title (in italics).
  • Edition.
  • Publisher.
  • Place of Publication.


Hasler, E 2018, The built environment, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.


  • For books with multiple authors, edited books, e-books and chapters in books see examples below.
  • Do not add edition number for the first edition of a book.

Referencing a book: Examples

Material Type In-text example Reference List Examples

Direct Quote

Book: Single Author

Indirect Quote


‘I have enclosed a lake in lips, lapped it with crystal tongues’ (Hasler 2018, p. 39).

In her prose, Emily Hasler talks about enclosing a lake in lips (2018,  p. 39).

Paraphrasing often uses page numbers to locate the source.

Hasler, E 2018, The built environment, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.

Book: 2 or 3 Authors

According to Puccio, Cabra and Schwagler (2018)
... this is evident (Puccio, Cabra & Schwagler 2018)

Puccio, GJ, Cabra, JF & Schwagler, N 2018, Organizational creativity: a practical guide for innovators & entrepreneurs, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.  

Book: More Than 3 Authors

Crauder et al. (2018) have found...
Mathematical tools are important (Crauder et al. 2018)

Show only the name of the first author or body, followed by et al.

Crauder, B, Evans, B, Johnson, J & Noell, A 2018, Quantitative literacy: thinking between the lines, W.H. Freeman, New York, NY.


Provide the names of all authors in the reference list.

Book: No Author

According to the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (2002, p. 197)...

When there is no author, the title is used as the first element in the reference (Style manual for authors, editors and printers 2002, p. 197).

Style manual for authors, editors and printers 2002, 6th edn, AGPS, Canberra, ACT.

If no author or editor, the title is used as the first element of the reference.
Edition number is placed after the title (not necessary for first edition).

Book: Editor

(ed. Smith 2018)
edited by Smith (2018)

Smith, KL (ed.) 2018, Sociology of globalization: cultures, economies, and politics, Routledge, Boulder, CO.

When more than one editor, use (eds.).

Chapter or part of a Book to which a number of authors have contributed    

Wang (2018, p. 137) states that ‘Special economic zones were the earliest to be established in China’.
‘Special economic zones were the earliest to be established in China’ (Wang 2018, p. 137).

In the in-text reference, name the author of the chapter.

Wang, S 2018, ‘From special economic zones to special technological zones’, in C Hsieh & M Lu (eds), Changing China: a geographic appraisal, Taylor & Francis, Boulder, CO, pp.137-155.

Book: Translator & Author

(Jablonka 2018)

Jablonka, I 2018,  History is a contemporary literature: manifesto for the social sciences, trans. N Bracher, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Book: Organisation as Author

(Britannica Educational Publishing 2018)

Abbreviations can be used for long organisational names but be consistent.

Britannica Educational Publishing 2018, Statistics and probability, Britannica Educational Publishing, Chicago, IL.

E-book: From a Library database

(Bowie et al. 2018)
Bowie et al. (2018) regards...

Bowie, D, Buttle, F, Brookes, M & Mariussen, A 2016, Hospitality marketing, Routledge, London.


E-books retrieved from a Library database are referenced in the same way as print books.

E-book: From a Website

(Fetter 1904)
Fetter (1904) stated...

Fetter, FA 1904, The principles of economics: with applications to practical problems, Century, viewed 21 January 2019, <https://www.gutenberg.org/files/40077/40077-h/40077-h.htm>.

For e-books retrieved from a website, replace the place of publication with a 'viewed' date and the URL.

Book on eReader

'I decided to openly fight the machine, the manufacturers of myth...' (McGowan 2018, Author's note, Loc 236)

For direct quotations of online material without pagination, name the major sections, chapter section, and paragraph number.

McGowan, R 2018, BraveeReader version, accessed 18 May 2018 from Amazon.com.

Brochure, pamphlet, or exhibition catalogue

'Our services are culturally appropriate and delivered by caring and experienced multilingual workers' (Australian Multicultural Community Services 2018, Home care packages and private care section).

Note: If no page number is available, include the location of the quote using a section heading.


Co-created with members of staff of the hospital these works offer personal insights and perspectives about life and death (Bell 2017).

Brochure or Pamphlet

Australian Multicultural Community Services 2018, Multicultural home care & other support services, brochure, Australian Multicultural Community Services, Maidstone, VIC.


Exhibition Catalogue

Bell, C 2017, We die as we live, exhibition catalogue, 1 November - 30 November, St Vincent's Private Hospital Foyer, East Melbourne.

Note: the inclusion of the format 'brochure', 'pamphlet' or 'exhibition catalogue' following directly after the title.

Multiple works same author

 Perceptions of an event have more impact than the event itself, so accurate perceptions are key (Fujishin 2016, 2018).


Fujishin (2016, 2018) tells us gesture is critical to creating genuine interpersonal connections.

Fujishin, R 2016, Natural bridges: a guide to interpersonal communication, Routledge, Abbingdon, England.

Fujishin, R 2018, The natural speaker, 9th edn, Routledge, New York.

Note: Order multiple works by the same authors by year of publication, earliest first.

Multiple works same author, same year

 The illustrations in Branford & Coutts (2015a, 2015b) highlight how line drawings add to the textual message ... 

Branford, A & Coutts, L 2015a, The precious ring, Walker Books Australia, Newtown, NSW.

Branford, A & Coutts, L 2015b, The wishing seed, Walker Books Australia, Newtown, NSW.

Secondary Sources: When you are referring to the ideas or words of an author who has been referenced in the book you are referencing 

'…new forms of oversight and ethical review were integrated into growing bureaucracies of big bioscience’ (Stark, cited in Hurlbut 2017, p.3).

Provide names of both authors.

Hurlbut, JB 2017, Experiments in democracy: human embryo research and the politics of bioethics, Columbia University Press, New York, NY.

Provide the reference for the book that you actually read.

Classical Works

'Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself' (John 15:4, New International Version).

If you are quoting a verse or extract, you do not need to provide a reference entry.

If you are referring to a particular edition for a significant reason, reference in the same way as a print book.

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, act 3, scene 2, line 74 illustrates the involvement of family ...

You do not need to provide a Reference List entry.


Video Transcript

Video Transcript: Harvard – Books & E-books

This introductory video will demonstrate how to reference a book and e-book using the Victoria University Harvard Referencing style.

The essential elements you require to create a book reference include: Author or authors including surname and first initial [Call out: include the second initial if available]; Year of publication, Title of book; Edition [Call out: this is only required for books from the 2nd edition onwards]; Publisher; and Place of publication.

The use of correct Punctuation is another important element of the Harvard style.  [Call out: for the purpose of demonstration we have highlighted the punctuation in red]. And notice the title of the book is in italics.

The front cover, title page and the verso of the title page will provide you with the key information you require to create a full reference. Taking this key information from the book, this is the full reference for ‘Business Writing’ by Patrick Forsyth.

In addition to the reference list entry, you are required to include in-text references in the main body of your work. This is an example of the in-text reference when paraphrased, and as a direct quote.

Now you know how to reference a print book, let’s look at creating a reference for an e-book. Referencing an e-book from a library database is identical to referencing a print book, there is no need to include a URL or retrieval statement.

For an e-book, there are a number of ways to obtain the key information you require to create a reference. The best way is to check the details on the e-book landing page. Confirm by opening up the e-book and locating the title page and verso of the title page. Taking the key information from the e-book, this is the full reference for ‘Business writing for dummies’.

The in-text reference format for an e-book is the same as for a print book.

Remember all in-text references should be listed alphabetically in the reference list at the end of your document; it should be presented on a separate page titled ‘References’.

For further assistance, refer to the VU Harvard Guide for more information and examples of other reference types. Contact the library through ‘Ask a Librarian’ chat and email, or ask for help at any Library service point.

[Video Ends.]