Reading so-called electronic books is becoming increasingly common, not only as a leisure activity, but also as a serious means to do research. However, there is some reluctance to embrace this format, and one key issue remains the proper citation. Many style manuals simply tend to treat ebooks as books. The problem I've found when they are treated the same (without an indication) is that citations seem inconsistent: paper books are cited by page but ebooks (which nobody else will know they are such) will be referred to by chapter/section. In addition, this can be sometimes misleading. For instance, while paraphrasing, the reader can come to believe that I'm alluding a whole chapter/section when I'm not.

Anyway, I haven't found any advise in the BibLaTeX documentation (ver. 3.4): section 3.11.7 refers to Electronic Publishing but it has to do with online archives.

As far as I can tell, there is so far no proper BibLaTeX «field» to indicate the format, a field which could be independently used by any style.

In the meantime, I'd like to find a way to specify that a citation was an ebook. For instance:




        author = {Mouffe, Chantal},
        title = {Agonistics},
        subtitle = {Thinking the world politically},
        publisher = {Verso},
        year = {2013},
    author = {Knuth, Donald E.},
    year = {1986},
    title = {The \TeX book},









Expected output

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistics. Thinking the world politically, 2013, epub version

Donald E. Knuth: The TEXbook, 1986

Mouffe: Agonistics


What entry and field should be used to print an explicit ebook reference under biblatex-dw?

  • Does tex.stackexchange.com/q/119330/17423 answer your questions? Otherwise, I wouldn't say these are really on-topic for the site. They are all opinions. May 5 '16 at 1:53
  • @SeanAllred I don't think that answer covers these questions, specially regarding questions 2 & 3: there is no entry sample, as it takes for granted that books and e-books are basically the same. Besides, it doesn't face the problem of question 3. Maybe I should delete or at least reword the first question, which invites to opinion-based answers.
    – Ludenticus
    May 5 '16 at 2:03
  • 1
    Regarding the edited question: from the biblatex 'perspective', the output is 100% dependent upon the style you choose. If the style is not designed to indicate epub, it simply will not indicate it. From the style guide 'perspective', then it is purely an issue as to whether the style guide prescriptively demands, casually exhorts, or in some way indicates that it is (not) important to distinguish between printed and electronic versions. As electronic versions of books become more prevalent, the guides will likely make a decision about this over time. But many now do not.
    – jon
    May 5 '16 at 2:24
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    Ah, well that's what I was saying! The style you want to use does ask for that '[electronic version]', so your question is actually how to indicate this '[electronic version]' (and how to cite to a section in that electronic version) in the APA style. This very much on-point for this site, so you should edit your question to reflect the true or underlying question.
    – jon
    May 5 '16 at 3:19
  • 1
    Mhh maybe you could give an example of the kind of ebook you think about. When I recently had to cite one it was just a PDF version of the printed book from the publisher's site, so I cited it as a normal book, but used the online ISBN instead of the print ISBN. It is a matter of the style whether or not to include a note that this is an ebook.
    – moewe
    May 5 '16 at 5:21

I don't know of a universal (style-independent) field to indicate whether a book is an ebook or not.

Most styles support the note and addendum fields, which you can fill with any text you want. So you could just write epub version there. If you see fit, you could also use the edition field.

All the ebooks I wanted to cite so far were pretty much digital versions of a print edition and so had normal pages that coincided with the print pages. In that case one would of course give the ebook ISBN.


I stumbled upon a similar problem, only requiring a bracketed note like [ebook] directly after the title as in APA-like styles. If you need the note there, the appropriate field to use is titleaddon.

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