Guidelines for Citing eBooks

The guide for citing electronic books, or e-books, is found in §17.1.10 of Turabian, 9th edition (2018). When quoting or referring to e-books, writers should cite them just like print books, but also record pagination (page number or chapter and section number) followed by format of e-book consulted (such as name of app or device format, commercial database, or online URL). Most readers of research prefer stable page numbers in citations: “Especially for a frequently cited source, it may be better simply to consult a version that reproduces the pagination of a printed edition,” which is also “more authoritative” (§17.1.10). In an academic setting, the professor determines what is “better” (i.e., when to record page numbers) according to a source’s importance in the academic field or in one’s research essay. The advice that it is better to record stable page numbers reflects common experience: for research readers prefer it, and research writers only need to take an extra step to find page numbers at an online library or retailer, Google Books, or archive.org.

In the Protestant spirit of ad fontes, the page on citing e-books can be read a the link: Turabian 17.1.10. Refer also to Turabian Citation Quick Guide or CMOS Citation Quick Guide.

This example e-book citation is formatted first as a full footnote (per 17.10.1), second as a shortened footnote (per 16.4.1), and third as a bibliography entry (per 17.10.1) formed with hanging paragraph and inverted last name suitable for the list of works cited:

1 Jason Byassee, Praise Seeking Understanding: Reading the Psalms with Augustine (Grand Rapids: Eermans, 2007), 22–23, Adobe PDF eBook.

2 Byassee, Praise Seeking Understanding, 107.

Byassee, Jason. Praise Seeking Understanding: Reading the Psalms with Augustine. Grand Rapids: Eermans, 2007. Adobe PDF eBook.

Reference works, moreover, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and lexicons, should not be cited by page number, but simply by key term, and they are usually not included in the list of works cited (per 17.9.1). Example:

3 Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, s.v. “Pelagius, Pelagianism.”

Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2018, 4:33 PM