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e-Books: Citing e-books

Page numbers

Providing accurate page numbers is a very important part of creating citations, however there are issues that e-books, depending on their format, can have with pagination.


  • For precise page citation, e-books in the PDF file format are the best to use as almost all retain the original layout and pagination of the print copy.

ePUB and Kindle

  • Many e-books in the ePUB and Kindle file formats do not retain the page numbers of the print version.
  • Location numbers do not always provide a reliable method of citation as they may change depending on font type and size, line spacing and margins set by e-readers.
  • If no pages are available in an e-book, you should use reasonable paragraph numbering instead. Be aware that this will entail counting the paragraphs from the beginning of that chapter.
    • For example: Oliver N. (2013) Vikings. Chapter 5: Swedish Vikings in the east, para. 2 [Calibre E-book Viewer EPUB]. Retrieved from on 20 September 2016.
    • If you are viewing an eLD book in EPUB format (see this section) you can use the icon icon from eLD book for 'reference mode' which will count paragraphs. Hover the mouse over the paragraph you wish to cite, and take note of the number, e.g. 15.7. This indicates that this is the 7th paragraph. However, you may find this is too high a number as it includes the chapter title, epigram, etc., in which case it may be easier to count paragraphs manually. Ignore the 15 and use the actual chapter name or number in your citation, as above, as the eLD viewer does not count chapters correctly.
  • For more information on citing electronic legal deposit material, see this guide.
  • Note that this is a starting point only; you are advised to contact your course tutor and/or your subject librarian for further help.

Web-based (HTML)

  • Some e-books are only available to view in a web browser. Some platforms (like Oxford Scholarship Online) have embedded the print page numbers within the text and these can be used for citations.
  • Some web-based e-books do not contain page numbers. The advice for these is to use reasonable sectional numbering instead, e.g. ch. 5 OR s. 2.1

Required information

If you are using the e-version of a text, you should cite from that version. Follow the advice of the citation style you are using to find out what information you will need. However, generally you will need to note the following if available:

  • DOI (Digital Object Identifier)
  • Where you have accessed the e-book, e.g. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)
  • When you accessed the e-book
  • The e-book's file format (PDF, ePUB, Kindle, &c.)

Supplier generated citations

e-Book suppliers and platforms (e.g. EBL, EBSCOHost and Oxford Scholarship Online) often allow you to create citations when you are viewing an e-book on their websites. This is often a quick and easy way to create citations. However, you should be aware that:

  • The available citation styles will be limited; and
  • The application of the same citation style may not be consistent across different plaforms.

e-Book citation examples

These citations were created using the cite functionality on EBL, EBSCOHost and Oxford Scholarship Online



Boulter, Stephen, Dr 2007, The Rediscovery of Common Sense Philosophy, e-book, accessed 10 June 2015, <>.


Boulter, Stephen, Dr (2007). The Rediscovery of Common Sense Philosophy. Retrieved from


Boulter, Stephen, Dr. The Rediscovery of Common Sense Philosophy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. (accessed June 10, 2015)



Caramani, D 2004, The Nationalization Of Politics : The Formation Of National Electorates And Party Systems In Western Europe, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost, viewed 10 June 2015.


Caramani, D. (2004). The Nationalization of Politics : The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Caramani, Danièle. 2004. The Nationalization of Politics : The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed June 10, 2015).

Oxford Scholarship Online


Casullo, A., & Thurow, J.(Eds.), The A Priori in Philosophy. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 Jun. 2015, from


Casullo, Albert, and Joshua C. Thurow, eds. The A Priori in Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Oxford Scholarship Online, 2013. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695331.001.0001.