Citation Guide

How to cite a book in a bibliography using MLA

The most basic entry for a book consists of the author's name, the book title, publisher city, publisher name, year of publication, and medium.

Last Name, First Name. Book Title. Publisher City: Publisher Name, Year Published. Medium.

Smith, John. The Sample Book. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.

The first author's name should be reversed, with a comma being placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears on the title page. Titles and affiliations associated with the author should generally be omitted. A suffix, such as a roman numeral or Jr./Sr. should appear after the author's given name, preceded by a comma.

For a book written by two or more authors, list them in order as they appear on the title page. Only the first author's name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word "and" before the last author's name. For books with three or more authors, you may either include each author in the citation or only include the first author, followed by the abbreviation "et al."

Smith, John, Jane Doe, and Bob Anderson. The Sample Book. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.

Smith, John, et al. The Sample Book. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.

The full title of the book, including any subtitles, should be italicized and followed by a period. If the book has a subtitle, the main title should be followed by a colon (unless the main title ends with a question mark or exclamation point).

The publication information can generally be found on the title page of the book. If it is not available there, it may also be found on the copyright page. State the publication city and then a colon. If there are multiple cities listed, include only the first city.

Next state the publisher name, which should be abbreviated where appropriate; articles (e.g. A, An), business titles (e.g. Co., Corp., Inc., Ltd.), and descriptive words (e.g. Books, House, Press, Publishers) should be omitted. If the publisher is a university press, though, you should include the abbreviation "P" in the publisher name to distinguish it from the university, which may publish independently of the publisher in question. A publisher name consisting of the name(s) of person(s) should be abbreviated to only include the last name of the first person listed. Standard abbreviations should be used for other words (e.g. Acad., Assn., Soc., UP). The publisher name is followed by a comma, the year of publication, a period, the medium in which the book was published (e.g. Print, Web), and a period.

If you are citing a specific chapter from the book, include the chapter name and a period in quotations, before the book title. Also include the inclusive page numbers for the chapter, along with a period, in between the publication year and the medium.

Smith, John. "The First Chapter." The Sample Book. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. 12-20. Print.

When a book has no edition number/name present, it is generally a first edition. If you have to cite a specific edition of a book later than the first, you should indicate the new edition in your citation. If the book is a revised edition or an edition that includes substantial new content, include the number, name, or year of the edition and the abbreviation "ed." in parentheses between the book title and the period that follows it. "Revised edition" should be abbreviated as "Rev. ed." and "Abridged edition" should be abbreviated as "Abr. ed." The edition can usually be found on the title page, as well as on the copyright page, along with the edition's date.

Smith, John. The Sample Book. 2nd ed. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.

Smith, John. The Sample Book. Rev. ed. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.

If the book is a reprint edition and is a newly republished version of an older book, include the following information after the period that follows the book title: the original year of publication and the word "Reprint", both followed by periods. The publication year at the end of the citation should be the year of the book's reprinting.

Smith, John. The Sample Book. 1920. Reprint. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.