How to cite a book in Chicago style

Chicago style has two options for citing sources: you can put citations in footnotes, or you can use parenthetical in-text citations. A Chicago book citation looks slightly different depending on which style you use.

Notes and bibliography book citation
Short note1. Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 55.
Bibliography entryRhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin, 1997.
Author-date book citation
In-text citation(Rhys 1997, 55)
Reference list entryRhys, Jean. 1997. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin.

Once you know which style to use, consult the relevant section below.

Option 1: Book citations in notes and bibliography

In this style, you cite the book in a footnote or endnote, usually with a corresponding bibliography entry.

Footnote citations

There are two note formats in Chicago: full notes and short notes. You’ll only need to use full notes for the first citation of each book if you don’t include a bibliography. All other notes should be short notes.

A full note for a book follows this format:

1. Author first name last name, Book Title: Subtitle, edition (Place of publication: Publisher, year), page number(s), URL or e-book format.

The title (and subtitle) of the book should use headline capitalization and italics.

Some information doesn’t always apply. The edition is only included if using an edition other than the first. If you’re referring to the book as a whole, you can leave out the page number.

The URL or DOI is added for books accessed online; for downloadable e-books, add the format or device you used to access it (e.g. Kindle, iBooks).

A short note only includes basic information to point to the book’s bibliography entry. It follows this format:

2. Author last name, Shortened Book Title, page number(s).

Titles of more than four words are shortened in short notes; retain the key words to make sure they’re recognizable.

A typical full and short note for a book might look like this:

1. David Johnson, Example Book: A Book of Examples, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 27.
2. Johnson, Example Book, 27.

Bibliography entries

Bibliographies are optional when using notes, but in most cases you will include one. An entry for a book in a Chicago style bibliography follows this format:

Author last name, first name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, year. URL or e-book format.

The author’s name is inverted, and the book title is written in italics and headline capitalization. As in full notes, the URL or e-book format is included only if you consulted the book in digital form, and the edition only appears if an edition other than the first was used.

Bibliography examples

Johnson, David. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Johnson, David. Example Book: A Book of Examples. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Johnson, David. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Translated by Jack Fellows. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Johnson, David. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. https://example-url.com/example-book.
Johnson, David. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Kindle.

 

Option 2: Book citations in author-date style

In author-date style, concise citations appear in parentheses in the text itself, while full details are given in a reference list.

In-text citations

In-text citations for books are simple in author-date style: they consist of the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number or range:

(Johnson 2009, 24–29)

Page numbers can be omitted if you just want to cite a book in general rather than referring to a specific passage:

(Johnson 2009)

Reference list entries

Author-date citations must correspond to an entry in your reference list. Reference lists differ from bibliographies only by prioritizing dates. In a reference list entry, the date is placed directly after the author’s name:

Author last name, first name. Year. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication:
Publisher. URL or e-book format.

The author’s name is inverted, and the book title is written in headline capitalization and italics. As in a bibliography entry, only include editions other than the first, and add a URL or e-book format for digital books.

Reference list examples

Johnson, David. 2009. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, David. 2011. Example Book: A Book of Examples. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, David. 2009. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Translated by Jack Fellows. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, David. 2009. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://example-url.com/example-book.
Johnson, David. 2009. Example Book: A Book of Examples. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kindle.

How to cite a chapter in a book

When you’re dealing with a multi-author edited collection, you’ll usually only cite a specific part of the book – for example, one essay from a collection or one story from an anthology.

In this case, your citation starts with the name of the chapter’s author and the title of the chapter in quotation marks (instead of italics).

Citing a book chapter in notes and bibliography style

A book chapter citation in a full note looks like this:

1. James Smith, “Example Chapter,” in Example Book: A Book of Examples, ed. David Johnson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 28.

A short note looks like this:

2. Smith, “Example Chapter,” 27.

In the notes, the page number is included only if you’re referring to a specific part of the chapter.

In the bibliography, you include the page range of the whole chapter after the editor’s name. The format looks like this:

Smith, James. “Example Chapter.” In Example Book: A Book of Examples, edited by David Johnson, 24–40. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Citing a book chapter in author-date style

An in-text citation looks the same as as a general book citation, using the last name of the chapter’s author:

(Smith 2009, 27)

The reference list entry looks the same as a bibliography entry, but with the date directly after the author’s name:

Smith, James. 2009. “Example Chapter.” In Example Book: A Book of Examples, edited by David Johnson, 24–40. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Citing books with no date, author, or page numbers

Usually, you can find all the information you need for a citation on the book’s title page, or on the copyright page, which displays details about editions and publication dates. But you may still end up missing necessary information.

Missing date

If you want to cite a book with no publication date available, you can replace the year with “n.d.” (short for “no date”) wherever it appears in your citations:

(Johnson n.d.)

Johnson, David. Example Book: A Book of Examples. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, n.d.

Missing author

If you want to cite a book with no stated author, there are a couple of scenarios. If the book is explicitly attributed to “anonymous,” you can simply use this as the author name:

12. Anonymous, Example Book, 68.

Anonymous. Example Book: A Book of Examples. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Otherwise, you can start your citation with the book title instead:

(Chicago Manual of Style 2017)

The Chicago Manual of Style. 2017. 17th edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Missing page numbers

Some books, such as e-books, may contain no page numbers. Even with e-books that do include page numbers or a percentage indicating progress through the book, these are specific to the format and usually not fixed. In this case, you should use an alternate locator – for example, paragraph numbers, headings, or chapter numbers.

Refer to whatever markers are provided within the text itself, using shortened words where appropriate:

(Johnson 2009, para. 12)

(Johnson 2009, under “Examples”)

15. Johnson, Example Book, chap. 11.

Note that you can also just omit page numbers; they’re only necessary when you need to specify a particular passage in the text.

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.

Comment or ask a question.