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How to Cite Any Book in MLA

How to Cite Any Book in MLA (8th ed.) Works Cited Page


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While creating an MLA work cited page, Print books are essential and have distinct MLA 8th edition rules to be adhered to while referencing. Therefore, researchers are always advised to be on the look out of the following important feature when gathering books to be used as sources. The author name(s) comes as one of the critical aspects, then other contributors like translators, and editors. Other include; the book’s title, edition, and the date of publication, the publisher and the pagination.

The eighth edition of the MLA handbook concentrates on primary principles rather than prescriptive practices. It always recommends a writer to focus on the main elements that are used in citation (author, title, etc.) and guides them to use a certain format. In doing so a writer could go overboard and even be able to source an item that is not included in this examples.

Note: some of the changes that are in (8th)edition and not in previous  (7th) edition:

  • In the 8th edition one is required to use commas instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
  • Medium are not used.
  • Use of containers is an additional MLA process. Consider usage of periods between Containers.
  • It is advisable to use DOIs rather than URLs if available.
  • The phrase “Accessed” is more recommendable instead of listing the date or the abbreviation “n.d.”

The following is an example of a general MLA format citation.

Author.Title. Title of Container, Other contributors (editors or translators), Version(edition), Number (vol., and or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraph URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access.

  • Basic Book Format

The basic format for a book with a single author appears like the last name, first name format:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book.Publisher, Publication Date.

  • Book with One Author


Other examples are;

Reich, Christopher. Invasion: Rules of Deception.Harper, 2002.

Kruger, Eva. Principles of Devolution.Warner Publishers, 2010.

  • Book with More Than One Author

In a case where a book has more than one author the same format is followed as above. It is imperative to note that the first name presented in the book will be edited as last name, then first name. Contrary the author’s names that follow will take the first name last name format.

Yates, Jane, and Paulo Palumbo.Only the Survivor Returns.Bolton and Zvi, 2011.

In case there are three or more authors, one is required to list only the first author followed by et al. (means others in Latin) where other author’s names would be. Note there is a period after al. (et al.) and no period after et (et al.).

Frost, Robert, et al. Android in phones: Better Mode of Operating Systems. Rolling Stone Entertainment, 2003.

  • Two or More Books by the Same Author

There are instances that a writer is required to cite the same author with different books. At this point, the writer is advised to list works alphabetically using the title. Edit the first name to appear in the last name, first name format for the first work cited then the following work with same author use three hyphens and a period.

  • Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

The term Corporate author represents a group of people e.g. a commission, a committee, a government agency. In this type of setup there is no definite author mentioned.

A writer is required thus to list the names of the corporate the same place the author’s name appears.

American Literature Association.The Better Half.McDonnell Entertainment, 2003.

In other cases on can find out that the author and the publisher are the same; in such a scenario one is required to omit the author and list the title first then list the corporate author as the publisher.

How to Operate a Greenhouse. Austen Group, 2005.

  • Book with No Author

Where no authors is mentioned, it is advisable to list as per the title. The titles also has to follow the alphabetical format as the names would.


One should always pay attention when doing an in-text citation of a book with no author. Here one is required to enter the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. It is also advisable to entitle the entry in a shortened version of the title of the book together with the page number. For further guidance take a look for the in-text citations for print sources with No Known Author section of in-text citations: The Basics.

  • A Translated Book

Depending on how a researcher wants his or her work emphasized more than the translator then he or she is required to cite just like any other book. In order to show a translator is in place, add the terms translated by then followed by the name(s) of the translator(s).

Fitch, Mark. The Next Afterbirth: Evolution in Human Being.Translated by Peter Morgan, Somerset, 2003.

There are instances that a writer is required to put more emphasis on the translation then it is a requirement to replace the author with the list. Ensure that the name of the translator is then followed by the label “translator.”In cases where the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, followed with “By” after the title of the book and just before the publisher. This kind of scenario only applies when the papers or books used have been translated.

Ransom, Leakey, translator. Place of Forgiveness: Revenge in Someone’s Life. By Fred McKenzie, Vintage-Random House, 2007.

  • Republished Book

It possible for a book to be republished just because of its popularity rather than making it a new edition. New editions represents a revision of the original work. A researcher is required to enter the original publication date for books that had a n earlier date of publication before the details of publication. The same works for a book with a new edition;

Marti, Evans. Principles of Success.2003. Rockworld, 2007.

Hitch, Zvi.The Love Doctor.1987. Routeldge, 1994.

  • An Edition of a Book

There are two kinds of editions that occur in book publishing: the first on eis when a book is published more than one in various editions and secondly a book processed by another person rather than the author (usually an editor).

A Subsequent Edition

Here one does the usual citing of the book then add the number of edition after the title.

Cullen, Jane, and James Ford.Factors of Reproduction.3rd ed., Oxford, 2010.

A Work Prepared by an Editor

One is required to cite the book as required then add the editor name after the title, with the title “Edited by” appearing.

Miller, David. The Better Half.Edited by Sharon Crowley, London publishers, 2006.

  • Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)

In order to cite the whole anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and then “editor” or if they are many editors, “editors”. View the example below for works that require citing a specific piece within an anthology or collection.

Spencer, Margret P., and Damian Jones, editors.The Division.Routledge, 2004.

Ransom, Peter., editor. A Place to Be: Invasion.Erlbaum Associates, 2007.

  • A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Any work that includes an edited collection or anthology, or chapter in a book may take the following format.

Last name, First name.“Title of Essay.”Title of Collection, edited by Editor’s Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

As Shown.

Other Examples.

Kruger, Paul. Fossils: “Wild Occurrences.”Facilitators of Reproduction: Genes of Inheritance, edited by George Bruno, Johns Hopkins, 2008, pp 27-38.

Park, Ji. “Graphic Designs: How to Use a Website.” Rules of Graphics, edited by Rose Shirley, Gunnar Swansom, Heinemann, 2010, pp. 15-20.

In MLA eighth edition one might decide to Cross-reference with one work to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay in case you cite multiple essays from the same edited collection. This factor is considered if you have several references from single text. Here one is required to enter the whole collection listed by the editor’s name as follows.

Harris, Muriel., and Gunnar Swanson, editors. How to Write a Business Proposal. Allworth Press, 2010.

In the case of individual essay from the collection, enter the author’s name in the same last name, first name format, then the title of the essay, the editor’s last name, followed by the page range:

Burns, Robert. “Fulfilling One’s purpose in Life: An Encouragement on How to Lead Your Life.” Harper Stock, pp. 101-21.

Palumbo, Paulo. “How to Gunner Success with Limited Resources.”Rose and Weiser, pp. 123- 45.

It is imperative to note that the same sequence of following the alphabetical order even when cross-referencing entries in the works cited list.

Poem or Short Story Examples:

Peeples, Tim. “Raven.”10 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Paulo Marti, Dover, 1996, p. 24.

Burns, Robert. “The Vintage.”The Burdens Book of American Culture, edited by Steven Hellen, Vintage, 2003, pp. 203-17.

If the work cited is part of the author then it is not necessary for one to include the name of editor(s).

Kincaid, Jamaica. “ The Singing Bird.” Poems with a Theme. Dover, 1997, pp. 17-24.

Whitman, Angela. “A Salvage.” The Procession: A Collection of Stories. Penguin, 2001, pp. 156-76.

  • Article in Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)

The same citations apply for encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works. In addition, if the reference book is organized alphabetically then it is not a necessary to list the volume or the page numbers.


“Devolution.”The Oxford Dictionary.2nd ed., 2007.

  • A Multivolume Work

In the process of citing only one volume of multiple volumes of work, then include the volume number after the title, or after the editor or translator.

Carter, Angela. The Apostles.Translated by S. J. Gates, vol. 3, Harper, 1995.

In case you are required to cite more than one volume among a multivolume of work, then cite all volumes in the work. It is also crucial to remember to include both the volume number and page number(s) in the in-text citation. For more clarity refer to Citing Multivolume Works on the In-text Citations – or access the appropriate link that will be offered at the end of this article.

Carter, Angela. The Apostles.Translated by S. J. Gates, Harper, 1995.4 vols.

In instances where the volume has its own title then it is advised to cite the book without referring to the other volumes.

Butler, Richard. Just About the Rapture. Fitch, 2010.

In summary.

  • An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

In occasions that one is required to cite an introduction, preface, foreword or an afterword just list the name of the author of the work being cited. Afterwards give the name of the part that is being cited, and note that it should not be italicized nor be enclosed in quotation marks.

The only part that has to be italicized is the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/ preface/ foreword/ afterword. End the citation as usual with the date of publication and pagination.

Miller, Vick B. introduction.Effects of Evolution, by Miller, Dodd, 2003, pp.5-12.

In situations that the person who wrote the piece being cited is different from the author of the entire work, then a writer should cite the full name of the main work’s author after the “By”. Take an example whereby you were supposed to cite Paulo Palumbo’s introduction of Jonathan Smith ‘ book “ Permanent Harm, then it will look as follows.

Palumbo, Paulo. Introduction. Permanent Harm, by Jonathan Smith, 1995, 3rd ed., Harper, 1994, pp. iv- ix.

Other Print/ Book Sources

There are some books that are treated in a special manner by the MLA style of citation.

Book Published Before 1900

Apparently, books before 1900 are represented by the place of publication rather than the publisher. Thus, it is recommended to cite the city of publication in this case unless one is using a new citing edition.

Burke, Kenneth. Insemination.Chicago, 1887.

  • The Bible

Always start of by italicizing the word “ The Bible” then mention the version you are using. For the in-text ( parenthetical citation) include the name of the specific edition, then by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). For more information see citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics.)

The Bible.King James Version, London Publishers, 1997.

The Bible. New International Version, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001

The New Jerusalem Bible.Edited By Michael Muller, Doubleday, 1987.

  • A Government Publication

Simply cite the author of the publication if it is provided. If it does not appear, then one should cite the work by list the name of the national government, followed by the involved agency; this include any subdivisions that serve under an organizational author.

In cases of congressional entities, one is required to include the number of congress and at what session it was held, followed by the resolution passed and the report number. The Government Printing Office usually publishes US official documents.

United States, congress, Senate, Committee on Extra-judicial Execution.Hearing on Racial Discrimination.Government Printing Office, 2005.99th Congress, 2rd session, Senate Report 21-45.

United States. Government Internal Affairs.Immigrants: How to Secure the Mexican Border.Government Printing Office, 2010.

A Pamphlet

While citing a pamphlet just cite the title and the publication as you would do for a book that has no author. It is usual for pamphlet and promotional materials to bear feature of a certain corporate authors (commissions, committees, or a variety of groups that do not reveal individual members names).

The example below shows exactly how one is to cite a pamphlet that bears no author. In case the pamphlet has an author, or corporate author then place the name of the author (last name, first name format) or the corporate’s author in the same spot the author’s name appears in the begging of the entity. Take your time to view Books by Corporate Author or Organization)

Men’s Talk: How to Propose without Causing Panic in your Fiancée. American College of Human Science, 2013.

Rules Governing the People of Las Vegas.Lottery Act in Las Vegas, 2010.

Dissertations and Master’s Theses

It is imperative to know the fact that master’s theses can be used as a source and it does not require it to be published. Its citation takes the form of a book but one has to include the designation Dissertation (or MA/MS thesis) followed by the university granting the degree and year the degree was awarded.

If for instances the dissertation is published, then one is required to italicize the title and include the publication date. Add the information about the University Microfilms International (UMI) and order number if required:

  1. Thoreau, Henry. Formatting Institutional Identity: Strategic Planning in Ego-metric Studies.Dissertation, Ohio University, 2004.UMI, 2006.
  2. Bishop Karen, Ecology, Male chauvinism: How to Play your Role in Marriage. Dissertation, Purdue University, 2007, UMI, 2008.AAT 3191701.

In situation of unpublished work, just put the title in quotation marks and end the citation with date the degree was awarded.

  1. Jones, Garry. “Handling the Trying Moments in Marriage: Understanding similar situation that Happen in Marriage and how to handle them effectively.” Dissertation, Purdue University, 2008.
  2. Collins, Sarah. “Play a Role Model in Your Child’s life: How One Can be a Mentor in a Child’s Life.” MA thesis, Ohio University, 2002.


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