Works Cited: Books

A basic book citation will have the following information.  Note punctuation.

  1. Author's(or editor or compiler) Lastname, Firstname. Followed by a period.  If there are two authors the first one is listed Lastname, Firstname and the second author listed as Firstname Lastname. (see example).  If there are more than two authors, list the first author as Lastname, Firstname, et al.  (Et al. is the Latin word for "and others").
  2. Title of Book. (italicized) followed by a period.
  3. Edition or version used (if it is listed on the title page of the book), followed by a comma. 
  4. Volume number (if the book is part of a multi-volume set).  Use the abbreviation Vol. followed by the number and a period.
  5. Publisher, date. List the publisher's name, followed by a comma  and the year of publication followed by a period.

See examples in the next section for more details.

Examples: Print Books in the Works Cited List

Book with One Author

Ayers, Harry. Classroom Management: A Practical Approach for Primary and Secondary Teachers. Fulton, 1998.  

Book with One Editor

Donovan, Mary Deirdre, editor.  The New Professional Chef: The Culinary Institute of America. 6th ed., Routledge, 1996.

Book With Multiple Authors or Editors

  • List authors in the order they appear on the title page
  • Reverse only the first author's name
  • If there are three or more authors,  list only the first author and add et al. (Latin for "and others")
  • If the writers are listed as editors, compilers or translators list that information after their name(s). Examples below.

Book with two authors, editors or translators

McQuiston, Liz and Barry Kitts. Graphic Design Source Book.  MacDonald Orbis, 1987.

Pevear, Richard, and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators. Crime and Punishment. By Feodor Dostoevsky, Vintage, 1993.

Books with three or more authors or editors

Catley, Andy, et al., editors. Pastoralism and Development in Africa: Dynamic Change at the Margins.  Routledge, 2013.  

Book Chapter or Work in an Edited Book

Cohen, David K., and Carol A. Barnes. "Pedagogy and Policy." Teaching for Understanding: Challenges for Policy and Practice, edited by  D. K. Cohen et al, Jossey-Bass, 1993, pp. 207-239.  

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

Chapter/Entry in a Reference Book (No Author) When citing an encyclopedia, dictionary or other reference book do not include the publisher information.  If the reference book is organized alphabetically, do not list the volume or the page number where the article is located. 

"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed., 1997.  

Translated Book

Bolano, R. The Savage Detectives. Translated by N. Wimmer.  Picador, 2012. 

Report or Publication from a Corporate Author

A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page. MLA recommends that you list the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry (see the first example below).  If the publication is a government agency, begin the citation with the name of the government (see the second example below).

American Allergy Association.  Allergies in Children.  Random House, 1998.

Canada, Immigration and Refugee Board. Access to Information and Privacy and Special Projects Directorate. Annual Report on the Privacy Act. Ottawa, 2009.  

Book with No Author

If no author is given, start your citation with the title of the book.  In the Works Cited page, it will be listed alphabetically with the authors.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania. 2nd ed., Somerset Publishers, 1994.


Examples: Ebooks in the Works Cited List

E-books --whether they are offered on the web or via library databases such as Ebsco or Credo--e-books are listed using the same information as print books, except you need to include two additional pieces of information:

  1. Name of  database or website where the document is held (if accessed online). In italics.
  2. Date of access (in the format: day, month abbreviated to 3 letters, year)  preceded by the word Accessed. Examples below.

NOTE:  Always remove the http:// or https://  from the URL of a web or digital publication.

Examples of e-book citations:

Hall, Carl W. A Biographical Dictionary of People in Engineering: From Earliest Records to 2000. Purdue U Press, 2008. Credo Reference, Accessed 2 Oct. 2016.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol.4, Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58.  HathiTrust Digital Library,;view=1up;seq=266. Accessed 10 Oct. 2016.

Rossner, MJ. Basic Mathematics for Economists. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2003. EBSCOHost E-book Collection, Accessed 20 Oct. 2012,

For more detailed examples of electronic citations in MLA-8, please see the Purdue Owl's website on Citing Electronic Resources.