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MLA Citation Guide: Books

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (9th edition) MLA style

Citing Books

The examples provided below aim to illustrate only basic principles of citing books and book chapters using MLA citation style. Please refer to the Handbook for more detail.

Basic Format for Book

Author. Title of work: subtitle. Publisher, Date.

  • Give author's name as it appears on the title page
  • Italicize title of work
  • Capitalize first and last word, and all principle words in article title (for more information, see the Handbook's sections 5.23-5.37, pp. 123-145.

One Author

Podell, Diane. Reading Ulysses at Camp Granada: The Comedic Genius of Allan Sherman. Putnam, 2021.

Two or More Authors

  • Give the names in order they appear on the title page
  • Reverse only the name of the first author
  • Use AND before last author
  • Use commas to separate authors

Irwin, Iris, and Masako Yukawa. Environmental and Nature Writing: A Writer's Guide and Anthology. Bloomsbury Academic, 2021.

Edited Book One or More Editors

Tornow, William, et al., editors. American Literature in the World: An Anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler. Columbia UP, 2020.

Article or Chapter in an Edited Book

Lee, Fung Har. "Sam Shepard: Word and Image." Critical Angles: European Views of Contemporary American Literature, edited by Elizabeth Horton, Southern Illinois UP, 2020, pp. 208-219.


  • An e-book can use the same elements as a print book, however, it is helpful to add the container (hosting service) and the location (url, doi, or persistent link).  
  • In the case of an e-book on an electronic reading device add the type of device as the version (edition).

Stein, Eva. Reading Hemingway's To Have and Have Not : Glossary and Commentary. Ashland, US: The Kent State University Press, 2021. ebrary,

Osborne, Mary. The Girl with the Celtic Tattoo. Kindle ed., Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2020.

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

From a Library Database (with an author)

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page. Name of Database

Works Cited Example

Emmett, Ellen M. "Shakespeare, William." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2021. Gale eBooks.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name)

Example: (Emmett)

Note: Because the specific page number can't be determined, the page number is left out of the in-text citation. Include a page number after the author's last name if one is given.


From a Library Database (author unknown)

"Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page. Name of Database

Works Cited List Example

"Racism." Britannica Academic, 2013. Encyclopædia Britannica. 

 Note: This example had no editor's name, edition, volume or page numbers, so these elements were left out of the citation.

In-Text Citation Example

("Shortened Title of Entry")

Example: ("Racism")

Note: This entry has no page numbers, so this information is left out of the citation. 

Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words from title of the entry. The words from the title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.