How to cite a book in Chicago style

Note: This article mainly covers notes and bibliography style. For author-date style, click here.

The basic formats for citing a book in a Chicago footnote and a bibliography entry are as follows:

Chicago book citation
Bibliography Author last name, first name. Book Title: Subtitle. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin, 1997.

Full note Author first name last name, Book Title: Subtitle (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), Page number(s).

1. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (London: Penguin, 1997), 34.

Short note Author last name, Shortened Book Title, Page number(s).

2. Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 54–55.

Short notes always follow the same basic format. Full notes and bibliography entries contain additional information if the book specifies an edition, translator, or editor, and follow a specific format when citing an individual chapter in a book.

Note that book citations look slightly different in Chicago author-date style.

Citing a specific edition

Scholarly books often come in different editions with important differences in content. When edition information (e.g. “Second Edition,” “Revised Edition”) is stated on the cover and/or title page of the book, it should be included in your citation.

Edition information is always abbreviated and followed by a period (e.g. “2nd ed.” or “rev. ed.”).

Chicago book edition citation
Bibliography Author last name, first name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Donaldson, Bruce. Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar. 3rd ed. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2017.

Full note Author first name last name, Book Title: Subtitle, edition. (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), Page number(s).

1. Bruce Donaldson, Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar, 3rd ed. (Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2017), 35.

Short note Author last name, Shortened Book Title, Page number(s).

2. Donaldson, Dutch, 76.

Translated books

When a book is translated from another language, it’s important to identify the translator as well as the author. “Translated by” is abbreviated to “trans.” in the citation.

In the bibliography, the words “Translated by” are written in full. The translator’s name is not inverted, unlike that of the author.

Chicago translated book citation
Bibliography Author last name, first name. Book Title: Subtitle. Translated by Translator first name last name. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain. Translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter. London: Vintage, 1999.

Full note Author first name last name, Book Title: Subtitle, trans. Translator first name last name (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), Page number(s).

1. Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain, trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter (London: Vintage, 1999), 450.

Short note Author last name, Shortened Book Title, Page number(s).

2. Mann, Magic Mountain, 312.

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Citing a chapter from a book

When referring to a chapter from a multi-authored book (such as an essay collection or anthology), cite the specific chapter rather than the whole book. This means listing the author and title of the chapter first, then providing information about the book as a whole.

The editor’s name is preceded by “ed.” in a note and by “edited by” in the bibliography. A page range is included in the bibliography entry to show the location of the chapter in the book.

A short note just lists the chapter title, not that of the book, and omits the editor’s name.

Chicago book chapter citation
Bibliography Author last name, first name. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title: Subtitle, edited by Editor first name last name, Page range. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Stewart, Bob. “Wag of the Tail: Reflecting on Pet Ownership.” In Enriching Our Lives with Animals, edited by John Jaimeson, 220–90. Toronto: Petlove Press, 2007.

Full note Author first name last name, “Chapter Title,” in Book Title: Subtitle, ed. Editor first name last name (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), Page number(s).

1. Bob Stewart, “Wag of the Tail: Reflecting on Pet Ownership,” in Enriching Our Lives with Animals, ed. John Jaimeson (Toronto: Petlove Press, 2007), 226.

Short note Author last name, “Shortened Chapter Title,” Page number(s).

2. Stewart, “Wag of the Tail,” 275.

E-books and online books

When citing a book you accessed online or in the form of an e-book, simply add relevant information about its format or location to the end of your citation.

Note that books in these formats might lack reliable page numbers. If there are no page numbers, or page numbers that would look different for another user, use another locator in your notes instead, such as a chapter number.

For an online book, add the URL or DOI where it can be accessed.

Chicago online book citation
Bibliography Author last name, first name. Book Title: Subtitle. Place of publication: Publisher, Year. URL or DOI.

Murdoch, Iris. The Sea, the Sea. London: Vintage, 2008. https://books.google.nl/books?id=IJ5fL72Vvs8C.

Full note Author first name last name, Book Title: Subtitle (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), Page number(s) or Alternate locator, URL or DOI.

1. Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea (London: Vintage, 2008), 126, https://books.google.nl/books?id=IJ5fL72Vvs8C.

Short note Author last name, Shortened Book Title, Page number(s) or Alternate locator.

2. Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea, 129.

For an e-book, add the format or device name (e.g. “Kindle,” “iBooks”). You don’t need to add a URL or DOI in this case.

Chicago e-book citation
Bibliography Author last name, first name. Book Title: Subtitle. Place of publication: Publisher, Year. Format.

Murdoch, Iris. The Sea, the Sea. London: Vintage, 2008. Kindle.

Full note Author first name last name, Book Title: Subtitle (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), Page number(s) or Alternate locator, Format.

1. Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea (London: Vintage, 2008), chap. 5, Kindle.

Short note Author last name, Shortened Book Title, Page number(s) or Alternate locator.

2. Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea, chap. 3.

Citing books in Chicago author-date style

In author-date style, books are cited with brief in-text citations corresponding to entries in a reference list. A reference list looks the same as a bibliography, except that the year is placed directly after the author’s name.

Format Author last name, first name. Year. Book Title: Subtitle. Place of publication: Publisher.
Reference list Rhys, Jean. 1997. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin.
In-text citation (Rhys 1997, 34)
Format Author last name, first name. Year. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.
Reference list Donaldson, Bruce. 2017. Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar. 3rd ed. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
In-text citation (Donaldson 2017, 67)
Format Author last name, first name. Year. Book Title: Subtitle. Translated by Translator first name last name. Place of publication: Publisher.
Reference list Mann, Thomas. 1999. The Magic Mountain. Translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter. London: Vintage.
In-text citation (Mann 1999, 405)
Format Author last name, first name. Year. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title: Subtitle, edited by Editor first name last name, Page range. Place of publication: Publisher.
Reference list Stewart, Bob. 2007. “Wag of the Tail: Reflecting on Pet Ownership.” In Enriching Our Lives with Animals, edited by John Jaimeson, 220–90. Toronto: PetlovePress.
In-text citation (Stewart 2007, 228)
Format Author last name, first name. Year. Book Title: Subtitle. Place of publication: PublisherURL or DOI.
Reference list Murdoch, Iris. 2008. The Sea, the Sea. London: Vintage. https://books.google.nl/books?id=IJ5fL72Vvs8C.
In-text citation (Murdoch 2008, 23)
Format Author last name, first name. Year. Book Title: Subtitle. Place of publication: Publisher. Format.
Reference list Murdoch, Iris. 2008. The Sea, the Sea. London: Vintage. Kindle.
In-text citation (Murdoch 2008, chap. 5)

Frequently asked questions about Chicago style citations

How do I cite a source with multiple authors in Chicago style?

In a Chicago style footnote, list up to three authors. If there are more than three, name only the first author, followed by “et al.

In the bibliography, list up to 10 authors. If there are more than 10, list the first seven followed by “et al.”

Full note Short note Bibliography
2 authors Anna Burns and Robert Smith Burns and Smith Burns, Anna, and Robert Smith.
3 authors Anna Burns, Robert Smith, and Judith Green Burns, Smith, and Green Burns, Anna, Robert Smith, and Judith Green.
4+ authors Anna Burns et al. Burns et al. Burns, Anna, Robert Smith, Judith Green, and Maggie White.

The same rules apply in Chicago author-date style.

When should I include page numbers in Chicago style citations?

Page numbers should be included in your Chicago in-text citations when:

  • You’re quoting from the text.
  • You’re paraphrasing a particular passage.
  • You’re referring to information from a specific section.

When you’re referring to the overall argument or general content of a source, it’s unnecessary to include page numbers.

Should I use short notes or full notes for my Chicago citations?

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, the usual standard is to use a full note for the first citation of each source, and short notes for any subsequent citations of the same source.

However, your institution’s guidelines may differ from the standard rule. In some fields, you’re required to use a full note every time, whereas in some other fields you can use short notes every time, as long as all sources are listed in your bibliography. If you’re not sure, check with your instructor.

What is the difference between a Chicago reference list and a bibliography?

Both present the exact same information; the only difference is the placement of the year in source citations:

  • In a reference list entry, the publication year appears directly after the author’s name.
  • In a bibliography entry, the year appears near the end of the entry (the exact placement depends on the source type).

There are also other types of bibliography that work as stand-alone texts, such as an annotated bibliography.

Is this article helpful?
Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

2 comments

Shanice Mason
May 28, 2021 at 10:26 PM

Hey,

I am currently using the Chicago17th edition (author-date) style for my thesis, however, my in-text citations are slightly different from yours. I used endnote as my reference manager and my in-text citations are written as the author and date (Mason 1995) but I see that you have the page number in your in-text citations as well. Do I have to add the page number to my in-text citations?

Also, I wanted to know if the following book and journal reference is following the correct Chicago 17th edition style:

Agrios, G. N. 1997. Introduction to Plant Pathology. edited by 4th. New York Academic Press New York

Abarenkov, K., R. Henrik Nilsson, K. H. Larsson, I. J. Alexander, U. Eberhardt, S. Erland, K. Høiland, R. Kjøller, E. Larsson, T. Pennanen, R. Sen, A. F. Taylor, L. Tedersoo, B. M. Ursing, T. Vrålstad, K. Liimatainen, U. Peintner, and U. Kõljalg. 2010. "The UNITE database for molecular identification of fungi--recent updates and future perspectives." New Phytologist 186 (2): 281-5.
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.03160.x.

Thank you for your assistance in advance.

Best regards,
Shanice Mason

Reply

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
May 31, 2021 at 3:24 PM

Hi Shanice,

With in-text citations, a page number should be included when you quote or paraphrase a specific part of a source. If you're just referring to the source as a whole, a page number isn't needed, but otherwise there should be a page number, yes. I advise you to add these where relevant.

In terms of your reference list entries, there are a couple of problems. First, make sure to use italics for the titles of a book and the name of a journal; I assume you probably did this but just lost that formatting in your comment here, but just in case!

Second, author's first names should be given in the form in which they appear in the source—usually as full names rather than initials. They can appear as initials if that's how they're listed in the source, of course, but I assume that wasn't the case for every author here.

Third, there seems to be an error in the book citation—"edited by 4th" doesn't make sense. It may be that you meant "4th ed." (4th edition) here, but filled the information in in the wrong field?

Fourth, also in the book citation, the part at the end should be "New York: New York Academic Press." It should also end with a period, as all reference list entries do.

Finally, when a source has more than 10 authors, it's recommended to only list the first seven, followed by "et al.", in your reference list. So e.g., "Abarenkov, K., R. Henrik Nilsson, K. H. Larsson, I. J. Alexander, U. Eberhardt, S. Erland, K. Høiland, et al. 2010."

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