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MLA Citation Guide (8th Edition): Books, eBooks & Pamphlets

This guide shows you how to cite using MLA 8th edition

How Can I Tell if it's a Book in Print or an eBook?

A print book means it's printed on paper. If you checked the book out of a library or bought it from a bookstore, it's print.

An eBook is a book you can read entirely online or on an eReader.

Citing an eBook with no Page Numbers

When there are no page numbers listed on an ebook, cite the chapter number instead in your in-text citation.

Example: (Smith ch. 2).  

In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors

Number of Authors/Editors In-Text Citation Example
Two

(Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Case and Daristotle 57)

Three or more

(Author's Last Name et al. Page Number)

Example: (Case et al. 57)

Tips

Access Date

Works from the web can be changed or removed at any time, so it is important to include the date you accessed the material in your citation. This is optional, but is especially important when there is no date specifying when the item (web document, article, webpage) was produced. Add the access date to the end of your citation. E.g. Accessed 23 July 2019.

Authors/Editors

An author can be a person but can also be an organization, or company. These are called group or corporate authors.

If you are citing a chapter from a book that has an editor, the author of the chapter is listed first, and is the name listed in the in-text citation.

Dates

The format of all dates is: Day Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012.

Write the full date as you find it on the source. If there is only a year listed, you will only put the year in your citation. For others, you will also include a month and day if they are given.

If there is no date listed, just leave it out unless you can find that information available in a reliable source. In that case the date is cited in square brackets to show that you found that information somewhere else. E.g. [2008]

Page Numbers

On your Works Cited page (but not for in-text citations), single page numbers are preceded by p. and a range of page numbers is preceded by pp. E.g. p. 156 or pp. 79-92.

Publishers

You have the option to use the shortened name of the publisher. For example, you can use UP instead of University Press (e.g. Oxford UP instead of the full name Oxford University Press).

You also have the option to remove articles (A, An, The), business abbreviations (e.g. Co., Inc.) and descriptive words (e.g. Books, House, Press, Publishers). 

Titles

Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).

Formatting

Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Book in Print - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. 

Works Cited List Example  

Kirsh, Steven J. Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research. 2nd ed., Sage, 2006. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Kirsh 70)

Book in Print - Two Authors

Last Name, First Name of First Author, and First Name Last Name of Second Author. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. 

  Note: Only the first author's name appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. The second author's name appears in "First Name Last Name" format. 

Works Cited List Example  

Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. Sage, 2005. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Wykes and Gunter 53)

Book in Print - Three or More Authors

Last Name, First Name of First Author, et al. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. 

  Note: If there are three or more authors list only the first author's name followed by et al. instead of listing all authors' names. The first author is the first name listed on the work you are citing, not the first name alphabetically.

Works Cited List Example  

Nickels, William, et al. Understanding Canadian Business. 9th ed., McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2016. 

In-Text Citation Example

(First Author's Last Name et al. Page Number)

Example: (Nickels et al. 5)

Book - Group or Corporate Author

Name of Corporate Author. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of Publication.

 Note: When the organization that published the work is also the corporate author of the work, begin the entry with the title, skipping the author element, and list the organization only as publisher.

Works Cited List Example  

Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation. Employability Skills: Creating My Future. Nelson, 1996. 

In-Text Citation Example  

(Name of Corporate Author Page Number)

Example: (Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation 14)

eBook From a Library Database - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. Name of Library Database.

Works Cited List Example

Waldau, Paul. Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs To Know. Oxford University Press, 2010. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Waldau 132)

eBook From a Library Database - Two Authors

Last Name of First Author, First Name, and First Name Last Name of Second Author. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. Name of Library Database. 

  Note: Only the first author's name appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. The second author's name appears in "First Name Last Name" format.

Works Cited List Example  

Foster, Lois E., and David Stockley. Multiculturalism: The Changing Australian Paradigm. Multilingual Matters, 1984. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost).

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Foster and Stockley 22)

eBook From a Library Database - Three or More Authors

Last Name of First Author, First Name, et al. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. Name of Library Database. 

  Note: If there are three or more authors list only the first author's name followed by et al. instead of listing all authors' names. The first author is the first name listed on the work you are citing, not the first name alphabetically.

Works Cited List Example  

Ziarek, Ewa Plonowska, et al. A Time for the Humanities: Futurity and the Limits of Autonomy. Fordham UP, 2008. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost).

In-Text Citation Example

(First Author's Last Name et al. Page Number)

Example: (Ziarek et al. 75)

eBook From a Website

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. Website Name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Works Cited List Example

Henty, George Alfred. The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt. Blackie and Son, 1889. HathiTrust Digital Library, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015073478847. Accessed 6 July 2016.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Henty 132)

eBook from an eReader Platform

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, e-book or eBook type if known, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication.

  Note: If you know the type of eBook you consulted (e.g. Kindle, EPUB), specify it instead of "e-book". 

Works Cited List Examples 

Smith, Zadie. On Beauty: A Novel. e-book, Hamish, 2005.

Smith, Zadie. On Beauty: A Novel. Kindle ed., Hamish, 2005.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Smith 132)

*Note: When citing an e-book in your text, avoid using device-specific numbering systems.  In this case, use the chapter number instead*

Example: (Smith ch. 4)

Chapter, Short Story, or Essay from a Book (Edited Anthology or Collection)

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Chapter, Short Story, or Essay." Title of Book: Subtitle if Any, edited by Editor's First Name and Last Name, Edition if given and is not first, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, Page numbers of the chapter, short story, or essay. 

  Note: The author listed at the beginning of the citation is the author of the chapter, short story, or essay.

Works Cited List Example  

Ross, Colin. "The Story of Grey Owl." Fiction/Non-Fiction: A Reader and Rhetoric, edited by Garry Engkent and Lucia Engkent, 2nd ed., Thomson Nelson, 2006, pp. 327-333. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Ross 332)

Short Story or Essay from a Book (Anthology or Collection of Author's Own Work)

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Short Story or Essay." Title of Book: Subtitle if Any, Edition if given and is not first, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, Page numbers of the short story or essay. 

  Note:  Use this format when the book is a collection of an author's own work. In this case, there will be no editor.

Works Cited List Example 

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

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Carter 155)

Article or Essay in an Authored Textbook

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article or Essay." Title of Book: Subtitle if Any, by Author's First Name and Last Name, Edition if given and is not first, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, Page numbers of the article or essay. 

  Note: The first author's name listed is the author of the article or essay. The second is the author of the textbook.

Works Cited List Example  

Graff, Gerald. "Disliking Books." From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Practical Guide, by Stuart Greene and April Lidinsky, 2nd ed., Bedford / St. Martin's, 2012, pp. 22-26.

In-Text Citation Example  

(Last name page number)

Example: (Graff 22)

Book with Editor(s) but No Author

Last Name of editor, First Name, editor(s). Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of Publication.

Works Cited List Example  

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

In-Text Citation Example  

(Last name page number)

Example: (Matuz 35)

Learn more: See the MLA Handbook, pp. 22-23