Citing a book in MLA style

When citing a book in MLA style, your citation should follow one of the basic formats below.


You do not need to include website information if you are citing a physical copy of a book.

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Horowitz, Joseph. Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall. W.W. Norton, 2005.

If a book has two authors, add “and” after the first author and then the second author’s first and last name: Author Last Name, First Name, and Author First Name Last Name.

If a book has three or more authors, add “et al.” after the first author’s name: Author Last Name, First Name et al.

eBook or online book

MLA requires you to indicate if the book you are citing is an electronic copy by adding “e-book ed.” after the title of the book.

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book, e-book ed., Publisher, Year.

Kramer, Lawrence, et al. Why Classical Music Still Matters, e-book ed., University of California Press, 2007.

If you are accessing a book from a website, you must also include the website information and URL, and optionally a date of access if there is no publication date or you suspect the source is likely to be altered in the future.

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year, Website Name, DOI or Permalink or URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Wagner, Richard. On Conducting: A Treatise on Style in the Execution of Classical Music. Translated by Edward Dannreuther, W. Reeves, 1897. Hathi Trust Digital Library, Accessed 18 November 2022.

Edited book

For an edited book with no authors, list the editors in place of the author(s) and add “editor(s)” after.

Last Name of Editor, First Name, editor(s). Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Matuz, Roger, editor. Contemporary Canadian Artists. Gale Canada, 1997.

Chapter in an edited book

This format also applies for citing a work within an anthology or a collection, e.g. a collection of poems. Note that the first author's name listed is the author of the chapter/essay/short story. If there is no editor given, you may leave out that part of the citation.

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Chapter/Work." Title of Book, edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, pp. #-#.

Ross, Colin. "The Story of Grey Owl." Fiction/Non-Fiction: A Reader and Rhetoric, edited by Garry Engkent and Lucia Engkent, Thomson Nelson, 2006, pp. 327-333.

More information

To see more examples and other situations of citing books in MLA style, see the library's online MLA Citation Guide. You can also find the MLA Handbook (9th edition) in the Knowledge Center’s reference collection and in the Book Stacks. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab also has a comprehensive guide to MLA style.