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MLA Style 9th edition: Books

This guide covers the basics of MLA Style writing, formatting, and citing.

General Format

Author. Title. Title of container (don’t list a container for books like novels), 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).

Book With More than One Author

Order the authors the way they are presented in the book. List the first name that appears on the book, then subsequent author names appear in normal order.

Jones, Estelle, and Esmerelda Hernandez. Editing and Proofreading in the Digital Age. Alabaster, 2018.

Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

A corporate author may include a committee, government agency or a g roup that doesn’t identify individual members on the title page.

List the names of corporate authors in the place of the author’s name.

National Rural Water Association. Chemistry in Water Care. Rivers Run, 2005.

If the author and publisher are the same organization, skip the author by listing the title first and list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Chemistry in Water Care. National Rural Water Association, 2005.

Anthology or Collection

List the editor(s) followed by a comma and the label “editor” or “editors.”

Norton, Leslie R. and Chantal Allen, editors. Eliminating Financial Barriers. South-Western, 2012.

Morris, Earl A., editor. Letters and Legacies. Mifflin Press, 2000.

Poem or Short Story

Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

If a literary work is part of the author’s own collection (same author on all works), then there isn’t an editor to reference:

Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems, Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19.

Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories, Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.

"MLA Works Cited Page: Books." The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab. Accessed 20 Apr. 2022.

An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

Include the author’s name of the piece when citing an introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword. Provide the name of the part being cited without italicizing or enclosing in quotation marks. Provide the work’s title and the author of the introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword. Conclude with details of publication and page range.

Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture, by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.

Pamphlet

List the title and publication information the same as you would a book without an author. Corporate authors or committees usually prepare pamphlets and/or promotional material.

Lifeline: Emotional Health after the Pandemic. American College of Mental Health, 2022.

Book

Include the author’s name as last name, first name.

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date. 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or is unknown in North America.

Book With Three or More Authors

List the first author followed by the phrase et al. in place of the authors’ names.

Bagley, Mary Sue, et al. What a Journey: Taking the Long Road. Goldengate, 2000.

Book Without an Author

If an author isn’t listed, treat the book title as an author.

Summer of Change. Another World, 1981.

For the corresponding in-text citation, use a shortened version of the book title with the page number.

(Another 22).

Republished Book

Books can be republished without becoming a new edition. Typically, new editions are revisions of the original work. For books that appeared at an earlier date and are republished later, use the original publication date before the publication information.

Smith, Sara. Smart Thinking. 2002. Harancourt, 2011.

Foreman, Henry. This Way Up. 1973. Allworth Press, 1998.

A Work Within an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Essays may be included in edited collections or anthologies, or a book chapter. Use this basic form for citation.

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

Hockenberry, Salena. "The Blind Often Lead the Blind." A Workplace Guide, edited by Joe Allen, Scribner, 2001, pp. 32-40.

If citing more than one essay from the same collection, you may cross-reference works to avoid writing out the publishing information for each essay. Include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor’s name.

Oliver, Noah and Isiah Schwartz, editors. Leading in Higher Education. Warner Press, 2010.

For each essay from the collection, list the author’s name, the essay title, the editor’s last name, and the page range.

Roberts, Ethan. “Delegating Responsibility.” Oliver and Schwartz, pp. 101-50.

* When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, maintain alphabetical order for the entire list.

Book(s) Published Before 1900

Books published prior to 1900 are typically defined by the place of publication instead of the publisher. Cite the city of publication where you normally list the publisher unless you are using a newer edition.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. London, 1897.

Government Publication

Cite the publication’s author if identified. If there isn’t an author listed, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency’s name serving as the organizational author. Include the number of the Congress and the session as well as the report number when citing congressional documents. The Government Printing Office usually publishes US government documents.

United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Reconstruction. Hearing on the Necessity of Infrastructure. Government Printing Office, 2020. 115th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 112-3.

Book with One Author

Saldana, Johnny. The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers. SAGE Publications, 2009.

Smith, Donna. Carving a Path. United, 2003.

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List the works alphabetically by the title. Provide the author’s name for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.

Jones, Estelle G. Over my Dead Body. Balthazar, 2001.

---. The Rearview Mirror. New Deal, 2003.

Translated Book

Use the basic citation for a book and add “translated by,” followed by the translator(s)’ name(s).

Beasley, Annie. The Hidden World. Translated by Geraldine Spoot, Random House, 1972.

An Edition of a Book

The two types of editions in book publishing include a book that’s been published more than once in different editions and a book compiled by someone like an editor.

A Subsequent Edition

Cite the book normally but add the edition after the title.

Huckaday, Elizabeth, and Sam Newton. Mythological Battles for the Kingdom. 4th ed., Wiley, 2018.

Prepared by an Editor

Cite the book normally but add the editor after the title with the phrase “edited by.”

Garaway, Eleanor. The Brutal Beast, edited by Geoffrey Sameck, Arch Press, 2002.

Article in a Reference Book (Encyclopedias or Dictionaries)

Cite the entry as you would for another work in a collection but don’t include the publisher information. If the book is organized alphabetically, don’t list the volume or page number of the article.

“Symbolism.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1982. 

Multivolume Works

For one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number following the work’s title, editor, or translator.

Shuckstein. Scaling the Wall. Translated by F. Jones, vol. 3, Allworth Press, 2002.

If the volume has its own title, cite the book without referring to other volumes as though it were an independent publication.

Smith, John A. Defining Constitutional Principles. Hinton, 2000.

The Bible

Italicize “The Bible” and follow with the version you’re using. In-text citation includes the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, chapter and verse(s).

The Bible. Easy Reading Version, Winfred Press, 2009.

The Bible. The Brother Version, 2nd ed., United Press, 2003.

The Companion Bible. Edited by James Marley, Sentel Press, 1973.

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