MLA Style Guide

Find examples and information about how to cite BOOKS in your writing

8th Edition: What's New

  • Strongly recommends including the URL in your citation.  
  • Recommends including the date of access to your citation, especially when there is no copyright date listed.
  • Allows pseudonyms for author names.
  • ​Requires the abbreviations vol. and no. to magazine and journal article citations.
  • No longer requires publication type (Print, Web, etc.) listed for each Works Cited entry.  
  • No longer requires the city of publication in your Works Cited entry. 

MLA Style Basics

Use these basic guidelines when preapring your final draft:

  • Paper: Prefer white, 8-1/2 by 11-inch paper.
  • Margins: Use one-inch margins all around.
  • Spacing: Double-space throughout.
  • Paragraphing: Indent the first word of each paragraph 5 spaces (1/2 inch) from the left margin. Indent long quotes (those more than 4-lines/40 words) 5 spaces from left margin.
  • Font: Choose a clean 12-point font.
  • Titles (books, periodicals, films, etc.) are italicized.

General Guidelines: BOOKS

Book citations in MLA generally require the author, title of book, title of container, publisher, and publication date. 

All entries should be DOUBLE SPACED and the second and any subsequent lines should be indented one-half inch (5 spaces). Alphabetize your list by the authors' last names. If you have more than one entry for an author, the entries should be arranged by date, beginning with the earliest.

Basic Book Format:

Author's last name, first name. Title of the work. Publisher, Year the book was published, page number(s). 

Roth, Veronica. Divergent. Katherine Tegen Books, 2011. 

General Format for any Citation: 

Author's last name, first name. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing BOOKS

Provide the city the book was published in only if the book was printed prior to 1900, has versions that are different in one country than in another, or if it is a rare book. 

You should abbreviate the country, province, and state names. For example, Logan, UT ; Bells Yew Green, Eng.; Neepawa, MB


Works Cited

Basic book

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Book with two authors Casell, Kay Ann and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction. Neal-Schuman, 2004.

Authors should be listed in the order they are listed on the title page.
Book with three authors Robbins, Chandler S., et al. Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden, 1966.

When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is given. It is followed by et al..
with translator or other contributors

Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles, Viking, 1996.

Woolf, Virginia. Jacob’s Room. Annotated and with an introduction by Vara Neverow, Harcourt, Inc., 2008.

Common terms like Adapted by, Directed by, Edited by, Illustrated by, Introduction by, Narrated by, Performance by, are no longer abbreviated. 

Edited book

Cape Cod Stories: Tales from Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. Edited by John Miller and Tim Smith. Chronicle Books, 1996. 

Please see the sample citation for a chapter or article in an anthology below for information on citing a component of an edited collection.

Numbered edition other than the first

Blamires, Harry. The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide through Ulysses. 3rd ed., Routledge, 1996.

Abbreviate the word “edition.”

Multi-volume set

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 

Chapter or article in an anthology

Kimball, Jean. "Growing Up Together: Joyce and Psychoanalysis, 1900-1922." Joyce through the Ages: A Nonlinear View, edited by Michael Patrick Gillespie, UP of Florida, 1999, pp. 25-45.

Book published before 1900

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions. Boston, 1863.

eBook found on a web site or database

Austen, Jane, and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk, 2015. Google Books,

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Gold Bug.” Short Stories for English Courses, Edited by Rosa M.R. Mikels, 2004. Project Gutenberg,

eBook found on an e-reader Doer, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. Kindle Edition, Scribner, 2014.

NB: Always be sure to use a hanging indent when adding citations to your Works Cited page or any formal references list (i.e., indent the second and any subsequent lines). 

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