MLA Book Citation – How to Generate It Correctly

01.02.23 MLA examples Time to read: 5min

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College students must learn how to reference the sources used in their academic work. There are different citation style guides used in academia.

In this article, you will learn how to reference different types of books following MLA guidelines. This can help bring consistency to your coursework, and ensure you avoid plagiarism.

MLA Book Citation – In a Nutshell

Here’s a summary of the main MLA book citation guidelines:

  • There are two parts to an MLA book citation: The in-text citation and the corresponding entry in the Works Cited section.
  • The in-text citation should contain the author’s surname and the page number.
  • The Works Cited entry is placed at the end of the paper / coursework.
  • Books titles are italicized.
  • If quoting an e-book, you must specify it.
  • Editions and volumes must be referenced.

Make sure to keep the guidelines handy so you can refer to them as needed and avoid plagiarism in your work.

Definition: MLA book citation

The name MLA is short for the Modern Language Association of America.1 MLA book citation style is mostly used in the humanities and language courses.

An MLA book citation consists of the in-text citation and the corresponding entry in the Works Cited section, placed at the end of the paper.

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Information for an MLA book citation

To cite a book in MLA style, you need to know the author/s name/s, the book title, the publication year, the publisher’s name, and the edition, if applicable.

You can find this information in the book’s front cover and/or in the copyright page.

MLA book citation – 8th vs. 9th edition

The MLA’s 9th edition was published in 2021. The most recent version expanded its scope and offers guidelines on how to cite a wider range of sources.2 This includes:

  • Information on how to quote films.
  • Information on how to quote articles from databases.
  • Inclusive language guidelines
  • Guidance on footnotes and endnotes.
  • Guidance on annotated bibliographies.
  • New guidelines on citing URLs.

MLA book citation – Books with multiple authors

If there are only 2 authors, use this MLA book citation format:

Surname, Name, and Surname, Name. Book Title. Publisher, year.


In-text citation: (Rodrigues and Moore 56)

Works Cited entry: Rodrigues, Mario, and Moore Claire. The Psychology of Bilingual Speakers. Riley, 2015.

If there are more than 2 authors, use this MLA book citation format:

Surname, Name, et al. Book Title. Publisher, year.


In-text citation: (Perry et al. 90)

Works Cited entry: Perry, Jonathan, et al. The Evolution of Media Studies. Cambridge UP, 1999.

MLA book citation – Books with no author

If the author isn’t specified, your citation should be formatted as follows:

Book name. Publisher or Editor, year.


In-text citation: A study of Shakesperian syntax (231)

Works Cited entry: A study of Shakesperian syntax. Rogers, 2007.

MLA book citation – Specific book editions

If the book referenced includes an edition, use this format:

Author surname, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., Publisher, Year.


In-text citation: (Martin 55)

Works Cited entry: Martin, Anthony. A Brief History of the Roman Empire. 3rd ed., Riley, 2013.

MLA book citation – Original publication date

If you’re citing a classic book and the original publication date is relevant to your work, follow this MLA book citation format:

Author Surname, First name. Book Title. Original publication year. Edition ed., Publisher, Edition publication year.


In-text citation: (Austen 83)

Works Cited entry: Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 1813. Revised ed., Signet Classics, 2008.

MLA book citation – Referencing volumes

Some books are written as more than a single volume. In this case, your MLA book citation should look like this:

Citing from a single volume: Author surname, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., vol. Volume number, Publisher, Year.


In-text citation: (Clark 109)

Works Cited entry: Clark, Roger. Critical Media Studies. 1st ed., vol. 2. Oxford UP, 1999.

Citing from multiple volumes: Author surname, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., Publisher, Year. Number of volumes vols.


In-text citation: (Donovan 1:67)

Works Cited entry: Donovan, John. British Colonies in the 19th century. 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2000. 2 vols.

MLA book citation – Referencing translated books

Translated books must include the translator’s names, in this format:

Author surname, First name. Book Title. Translated by Translator name, Publisher, Year.


In-text citation: (Garcia Marquez 165)

Works Cited entry: Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Translated by Gregory Rabassa, Jonathan Cape, 1970.

MLA book-citation – Referencing e-books

Use this format when you reference an e-book that you downloaded to an e-reader:

Author last name, First name. Book Title. E-book ed., Publisher, Year.


In-text citation: (Geertz 71)

Works Cited entry: Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. E-book ed., Basic Book Classics, 2003.

MLA book citation – Citing online books

Whenever you reference a book you accessed online, use the following MLA book citation format:

Author surname, First name. Book Title. Publisher, Year. Website or Database Name E-Book, DOI/URL.


In-text citation: (Perry 45)

Works Cited entry: Perry, Anna. Ethnomusicology of Western Africa. Cambridge UP, 2003. ACLS Humanities E-Book, doi: 10.0000/500000000.

MLA book citation – Anthologies or collections

When you cite from books that feature a collection of essays, the applicable format is:

Surname, First name. “Title of Essay.” Title of Collection, edited by Editor/s Name/s, Publisher, Year, Page/s.


In-text citation: (Goodwill 240)

Works Cited entry: Goodwill, Jacob. “Modern discourse analysis.” Discourse and Society: An Anthology, edited by Johan Solnit, Harvard UP, 2010, 235-255

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The standard MLA book citation guidelines are:

Author/s Surname and Initial/s. Title. Book Publisher, Publication year.


In-text citation: (Andrews 20)

Works Cited entry: Andrews, M. The Role of the Humanities in Society. Wiley, 2005.

Yes. The standard (parenthetical) in-text book citation follows the format:

Sentence + (Author’s surname Page number).

Narrative or prose in-text citations must be referenced as follows: Author’s surname (Page number)

Yes. For these books, use this MLA book citation style:

Author Surname, Name. Book Title. Place of publication, year of publication.


Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. London, 1890.

Yes, following this format:

Author Surname, Name. Dissertation Title. Year. Awarding institution, Degree.


Branson, Lisa. Perceptions of Ethnic Identity in European Immigrants. 2014. University of California, PhD dissertation.


1 Modern Language Association. “MLA Style.” Accessed January 8, 2023.

2 MLA Style Center. “What’s New in the Ninth Edition of the MLA Handbook (Spring 2021).” Accessed January 8, 2023.