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, also 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.


Scribbr MLA Citation Generator

Citing a book chapter

Use this format 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). A similar format can be used to cite images from books. If you cite several chapters from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.

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 there are two editors, give the full names of both. If there are more than two editors, follow the same rules as for citing multiple authors: name only the first editor followed by et al.

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.

Format Author last name, First name. “Title of Chapter or Work.” Book Title, edited by Editor name, Publisher, Year, pp. Page range.
Works Cited entry Smith, Ali. “The Universal Story.” The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story, edited by Philip Hensher, Penguin Books, 2018, pp. 99-107.
In-text citation (Smith 101)
Format Author last name, First name. “Title of Chapter or Work.” Book Title, edited by Editor names, Publisher, Year, pp. Page range.
Works Cited entry Le Guin, Ursula K. “Deep in Admiration.” Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, edited by Anna Tsing et al., University of Minnesota Press, 2017, pp. 15-21.
In-text citation (Le Guin 17)
Format Author last name, First name. “Title of Chapter or Work.” Book Title, Publisher, Year, pp. Page range.
Works Cited entry Beckett, Samuel. “Catastrophe.” The Collected Shorter Plays, Grove Press, 2010, pp. 293-300.
In-text citation (Beckett 299)

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.

Format Editor last name, First name, editor. Book Title. Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Tsing, Anna, et al., editors. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
In-text citation (Tsing et al. 3)

Editions of books

If the book cover or title page specifies an edition, add the edition number or name, followed by the abbreviation “ed.”, after the title.

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 2nd ed., Routledge, 1999.
In-text citation (Butler 23)

Including the original publication date

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.

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Original publication year. Edition ed., Publisher, Edition publication year.
Works Cited entry Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. 1847. Revised ed., Penguin Classics, 2002.
In-text citation (Brontë 31)

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

Multi-volume books

If you cite only one volume of a multi-volume work, include the volume number in the Works Cited entry.

If you cite more than one volume of the book, cite them as a single work and specify the total number of volumes in your Works Cited entry. In this case, the in-text citations must include the volume number as well as the page number.

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., vol. Volume number, Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Oxford University Press, 2002.
In-text citation (Rampersad 64)
Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., Publisher, Year. Number of volumes vols.
Works Cited entry Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2002. 2 vols.
In-text citation (Rampersad 1: 25)

Translated books

If the book is translated, include the translator’s name after the title.

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Translated by Translator name, Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Camus, Albert. The Plague. Translated by Robin Buss, Penguin Books, 2013.
In-text citation (Camus 62)

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 a link to the book. Look for a DOI, stable URL or permalink.

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Publisher, Year. Website or Database Name, DOI/URL.
Works Cited entry Brown, Wendy. States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity. Princeton University Press, 1995. ACLS Humanities E-Book, hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.32981.
In-text citation (Brown 12)

Downloaded e-books

If you downloaded the book onto an e-reader device or app, you only have to add the word “e-book” or the specific format (e.g. Kindle ed.) after the title.

If the e-book does not have page numbers, use an alternate locator, such as a chapter or section heading, in your in-text citation. Do not use locators that are specific to the device (e.g. Kindle locations).

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Format, Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. e-book, Verso, 2006.
In-text citation (Anderson, ch. 5)

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.


mla-book-citation

Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Translated by Catherine Porter, Harvard University Press, 2004.

Frequently asked questions about MLA style

How do you write a book title in MLA?

In MLA style, book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space. For example:

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.

How do I cite a source with multiple authors in MLA?

In MLA Style, if a source has two authors, name both authors in your in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

Number of authors In-text citation Works Cited entry
1 author (Moore 37) Moore, Jason W.
2 authors (Moore and Patel 37) Moore, Jason W., and Raj Patel.
3+ authors (Moore et al. 37) Moore, Jason W., et al.
When should I cite a book chapter in MLA?

In MLA Style, you should cite a specific chapter or work within a book in two situations:

  • When each of the book’s chapters is written by a different author.
  • When the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as poems, plays, or short stories), even if they are all written by the same author.

If you cite multiple chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each chapter.

When do I need to include an MLA in-text citation?

You must include an in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book, movie, website, or article).

Is this article helpful?
Shona McCombes

Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing.

4 comments

Donna
November 13, 2020 at 5:15 AM

I need assistance in writing a thesis statement

Reply

Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr-team)
November 17, 2020 at 8:14 PM

Hi Donna,

We have an article about writing a thesis statement that you might find helpful!

Reply

Velanathan
November 20, 2019 at 3:32 PM

Is it not needed to add print at the last of the citation of books?

Reply

Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr-team)
November 21, 2019 at 12:03 PM

Hi,

You're right that previous editions of MLA required a "print" or "web" label at the end of citations, but the 8th edition (the most recent, published in 2016) states that this is no longer part of MLA style.

Reply

Comment or ask a question.

Please click the checkbox on the left to verify that you are a not a bot.