How to Cite a Book in MLA

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Published October 20, 2011. Updated September 27, 2021.

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Books are written works or compositions that have been published. They are no longer restricted to paper and have evolved into the online realm.

Below are examples of how to cite different types of books in MLA 9.

Citing a book in MLA (print)

Works Cited
Structure

Author’s last name, First name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year published.

Example

James, Henry. The Ambassadors. Serenity, 2009.

View Screenshot | Cite your book

In-text Citation
Structure

(Author Last Name Page #)  OR  Last Name (Page #)

Example

(Henry 33)  OR  Henry (33)

 


Citing a book found on a Website or database in MLA

Many books are now found online. Popular sites or databases that hold e-books include Google Books, Project Gutenberg, and EBSCO.

Works Cited
Structure

Author’s last name, First name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year published. Title of website or database, URL.

Example

Austen, Jane, and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk, 2015. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=x5xPaPeZzmUC&lpg=PP1&dq=zombies&pg=PP1#v=onepag e&q=zombies&f=false.

Cite your book

*Keep “https:” at the beginning of the URL only when citing a DOI.

 

Digital sources with no page numbers means that no page numbers should be included in the in-text citation.

In-text Citation
Structure

(Last Names)  OR  Last Names

Example

(Austen and Grahame-Smith)  OR  Austen and Grahame-Smith

 


Citing an E-book in MLA (found via an e-reader)

E-Readers are electronic devices that display e-books. Kindles and Nooks are some of the more popular e-readers available today. Individuals can purchase or borrow e-books and read them on their e-readers.

Works Cited
Structure

Author’s last name, First name. Title of the e-Book. E-book ed., Publisher, Year published. Name of e-reader device.

Example

Doer, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. E-book ed., Scribner, 2014. Kindle.

Cite your ebook

*Keep “https:” at the beginning of the URL only when citing a DOI.

 

Since the page numbers of an e-book can vary across e-reader, text preferences, and other factors, you should not include a page number. This is because a consistent page number does not exist. You can include section numbers (sec., secs.) or chapter numbers (ch., chs.) instead, if they exist and you feel it would be helpful.

In-text Citation
Structure

(Last Names, Chapter or Section #)  OR  Last Names (Chapter or Section #)

Example

(Austen and Grahame-Smith, ch. 1)  OR  Austen and Grahame-Smith (ch. 1)

 


Citing a translated or edited book in MLA

Works Cited
Structure

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of the Book. Translated by OR Edited by First name Last name, Publisher, Year published.

Example

Murakami, Haruki. A Wild Sheep Chase. Translated by Alfred Birnbaum, Vintage Books, 2015.

Cite your book

In-text Citation
Structure

(Last Name Page #)  OR  Last Names (Page #)

Example

(Murakami 27)  OR  Murakami (27)

 


Citing a chapter of a book in MLA

Works Cited
Structure

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of chapter or section.” Title of the Book, edited by First name Last name, Publisher, Year published, page number(s).

Example

Montrose, Louis. “Elizabeth Through the Looking Glass: Picturing the Queen’s Two Bodies.” The Body of the Queen: Gender and Rule in the Courtly World, 1500-2000, edited by Regina Schulte, Berghahn, 2006, pp. 61-87.

Cite your book

*In the above citation example, The Body of the Queen: Gender and Rule in the Courtly World, 1500-2000 is an edited book that features a chapter by Louis Montrose. The title of the chapter that he wrote is found in quotation marks (“Elizabeth Through the Looking Glass: Picturing the Queen’s Two Bodies”).

 

In-text Citation
Structure

(Last Name Page #)  OR  Last Name (Page #)

Example

(Montrose 62)  OR Montrose (62)

 


Citing a book with multiple authors in MLA

2 Authors

Works Cited
Structure

1st Last Name, First Name, and 2nd First Name Last Name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year published.

Example

Charaipotra, Sona, and Dhonielle Clayton. Tiny pretty things. HarperTeen, 2016.

Cite your book

In-text Citation
Structure

(1st Last Name and 2nd Last Name Page #)  OR  1st Last Name and 2nd Last Name (Page #)

Example

(Charaipotra and Clayton 63)  OR  Charaipotra and Clayton (63)

 


3+ Authors

Works Cited
Structure

1st Last Name, First Name, et al. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year published.

Example

Matthews, Graham, et al. Disaster Management in Archives, Libraries, and Museums. Ashgate, 2009.

*et al. is Latin for “and others.”

Cite your book

In-text Citation
Structure

(1st Last Name et al. Page #)  OR  1st Last Name et al. (Page #)

Example

(Matthews et al. 17)  OR  Matthews et al. (17)

 

 


Published October 20, 2011. Updated May 9, 2021.

 

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How should I cite a book by an organization in MLA?

In the works cited: If the organization is the author and publisher, don’t include an author and start the citation with the book’s title. If the author and publisher are different, use the organization name as the author.

When should I cite a chapter in MLA?

When the chapter’s author is different from the book’s editor or author. Chapters are usually cited when you use anthologies, multi-volume sets, or a foreword/afterword written by someone other than the book’s main author.

How do you create an MLA in-text citation for an e-book?

Place the author’s last name and the quote chapter number in parenthesis after the borrowed quote or information. Example: “Feeling that Peter was on his way back, the Neverland had again woke into life” (Barrie ch. 5).

Who uses the MLA citation style?

MLA is the style most often used in literature, language, history, art and theater subjects.

What should I do if information about my source is missing?

If any important information is missing (e.g., author’s name, title, publishing date, URL, etc.), first see if you can find it in the source yourself. If you cannot, leave the information blank and continue creating your citation.

Can I create a manual citation?

Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.

How do I cite a book with multiple authors in MLA format?

To cite a book with multiple authors in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the authors, publication year, book title, and publisher. The templates for in-text citation and works-cited-list entry of a book written by multiple authors and some examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

Citation in prose:

For sources with two authors, use both full author names in prose (e.g., Harold Napoleon and Richard Harris). For sources with three or more authors, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Harold Napoleon and others). In subsequent citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Napoleon and others).

Example:

First mention: Harold Napoleon and colleagues…. or Harold Napoleon and others ….

Subsequent occurrences: Napoleon and colleagues…. or Napoleon and others ….

Parenthetical:

In parenthetical citations, use only the author’s surname (e.g., Napoleon). For sources with two authors, use two surnames (e.g., Napoleon and Harris). For sources with three or more author names, use the first author’s surname followed by “et al.”

Example:

….(Napoleon et al.)

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

The title of the book is given in italics and title case.

Template:

Surname, F. M., et al. Title of the Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Example:

Napoleon, Harold, et al. Yuuyaraq the Way of the Human Being: With Commentary. University of Alaska, 1996.

Use only the first author’s name in surname–first name order in the entry and follow it with “et al.”

What is the difference between a book and an e-book in MLA format?

A book is a printed copy, whereas an e-book is an online version and is available via different electronic media (e.g., epub and Kindle).

To cite a print book in MLA format, you need to know the names of the authors, the title of the book, publisher name, publication date, and page range (optional). You need the same information to cite an e-book, however, you will not include page numbers unless they are the same as those in the print version of the book. MLA mostly treats citations for print books and e-books the same, except for noting that the e-book version is being cited within the entry.

The templates and examples for in-text citations and works cited list entries for a book and an e-book are provided below:

Print book

In-text citation template and example for a book:

Citation in prose:

Author Surname

Damasio

Parenthetical:

(Author Surname Page)

(Damasio 7)

Works cited list entry template and example:

Template:

Surname, First Name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Publication Date, Page range.

Example:

Damasio, Antonio. Emotion, Reason and the Feeling Brain. Penguin, 1994.

E-book

In-text citation template and example for an e-book:

Citation in prose:

Author Surname

Davis

Parenthetical:

(Author Surname)

(Davis)

Works cited list entry template and example:

Template:

Author’s Surname, First Name. Title of the Book. E-book ed., Publisher, Publication Date.

Example:

Davis, Barbara. The Keeper of Happy Endings. E-book ed., Lake Union Publishing, 2021.