How Does One Properly Cite e-books in a Bibliography?
I have a question that is bugging me: How does one properly cite an e-book?
I found this article from Lambuth University Library that discusses APA and MLA suggestions, but I think they are incomplete at best and leave the writer asking more questions than their guidelines answer.
Here’s just some of the problems I can foresee right off the cuff:
- e-books have been designed to be re-flowable, so page numbers mean nothing.
This is immediately apparent if you play with an iPad for more than .025 seconds. The number of pages differ between portrait and landscape orientation, so page numbers are useless in this context. Furthermore, the same file (presuming non-DRMed ePub) might display differently on a different device.
To me, the only thing that makes sense is to cite via relative location, i.e. chapter or paragraph.
- Web addresses are irrelevant if buying for a specific device.
If you’ve purchased a book from the Kindle store or the Nook store or the iBook store, it would seem to me that the server address should be irrelevant as there’s no way to go back to that specific copy of the file.
The “experience” between the stores is designed to hide implementation details. Given that you have to make a purchase and then receive a file as the server sees fit, there’s no way to guarantee that you are getting a copy of the same file as that which is cited in the bibliography.
Of course, public domain books such as Almost Perfect by W. E. Peterson are the exception to the rule.
- For similar reasons (and exceptions), the date accessed is irrelevant.
- The in-text citation rules in my linked article are laughable. See point number 1.
So, does anyone have a better idea for how to cite an e-book in a bibliography?