How to cite a book in MLA
An MLA book citation always includes the author(s), title (italicized), publisher, and publication year in the list of Works Cited. If relevant, include the names of any editors or translators, the edition, and the volume.
The in-text citation gives the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.
To create your book citations automatically, enter a book title, ISBN, or DOI, and the MLA Citation Generator will retrieve all the necessary information.
Scribbr MLA Citation Generator
Editions of books
If the book cover or title page specifies an edition, add the edition number or name (together with the abbreviation “ed.”) before the publisher details.
Classic books are often published and republished many times. If the original publication date is relevant or necessary to put the source in context, you can also include this directly after the title.
Some books are published in multiple volumes, where each volume has the same title but a different number to identify it.
Citing a single volume
When citing a single volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number in the Works Cited entry.
Citing multiple volumes
If you cite more than one volume of the book, in the Works Cited list, include one entry that identifies the total number of volumes in the work.
In this case, the in-text citations must include the specific volume number as well as the page number, separated by a colon and a space.
Translated and edited books
If the book specifies a translator, editor, or other relevant contributor, include their name (with a label specifying their role) directly after the title.
E-books and online books
The citation format for an e-book depends on how you accessed it.
Books accessed online
If you accessed the book via a website or database, use the standard MLA book citation format, followed by the name of the website or database and the URL. Look for a stable URL or permalink on the page where you accessed the book.
If you downloaded the book onto an e-reader device or app, you only have to add the word “e-book” or the type of e-book (e.g. Kindle ed.) after the title.
If the e-book does not have page numbers, in your in-text citation you can use an alternate locator, such as a chapter or section heading.
Do not use locators that are specific to the device (e.g. Kindle locations).
Citing a book chapter
If the book’s chapters are written by different authors, or if the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as stories, essays, poems or plays), cite the author of the specific chapter or work.
Start the Works Cited entry with the author and title of the chapter, followed by the book’s title, editor, publisher, and date, and end with the page range on which the chapter appears.
If you cite several different chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.
If you are citing a work from a book with no named editor (e.g. a collection of a single author’s poems or plays), use the same format, but leave out the editor element.
Citing a whole collection or anthology
If you refer to a whole collection without citing a specific work within it, follow the standard book citation format. Include the editor(s) where the author would usually go, with a label to identify their role.
Where to find information for a book citation
The title, author, publisher, and publication year are usually found on the book’s title page. You might have to check the copyright page for the publisher and publication year.
Note that the copyright date is not always the same as the publication date. If several different years appear on the copyright page, use the most recent one.
If the book has any editors or translators named on the cover page, include them in the citation after the book’s title.
Frequently asked questions about MLA style
- When do I need to include an MLA in-text citation?
- How do you write a book title in MLA?
- Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.
The title of a part of a book – such as a chapter, short story or poem in a collection – is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.
- Are titles capitalized in MLA?
- When should I cite a chapter instead of the whole book?