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.
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.
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.
If there are only 2 authors, use this MLA book citation format:
Surname, Name, and Surname, Name. Book Title. Publisher, year.
If there are more than 2 authors, use this MLA book citation format:
Surname, Name, et al. Book Title. Publisher, year.
If the author isn’t specified, your citation should be formatted as follows:
Book name. Publisher or Editor, year.
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.
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.
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.
Citing from multiple volumes: Author surname, First name. Book Title. Edition ed., Publisher, Year. Number of volumes 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. https://www.mla.org/MLA-Style.
2 MLA Style Center. “What’s New in the Ninth Edition of the MLA Handbook (Spring 2021).” Accessed January 8, 2023. https://style.mla.org/ninth-edition-whats-new/.