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University of Portland Clark Library

MLA Style (8th Edition) Citation Guide: Books & Ebooks


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.



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.


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).


You have the option to use the shortened name of the publisher by using UP instead of University Press (e.g. Oxford UP, not 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).


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

Whether to give the year alone or include a month and day depends on your source: write the full date as you find it there.

If no date is listed, omit it unless you can find that information available in a reliable source. In that case the date is cited in square brackets. e.g. [2008]

Page Numbers

Page number on your Works Cited page (but not for in-text citations) are now proceeded by p. for a single page number and pp. for a range of page numbers. E.g. p. 156 or pp. 79-92.

Access Date

Date of access is optional in MLA 8th edition; it is recommended for pages that may change frequently or that do not have a copyright/publication date.

Book In Print

One Author

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

Note: The city of publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America.

Works Cited List Example:

Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World History. Walker, 2002.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Kurlansky 10)

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 listed appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. Authors' names are separated by a comma. Before the last author to be listed, add the word "and."

Works Cited List Example:

 Jacobson, Diane L., and Robert Kysar. A Beginner's Guide to the Books of the Bible, Augsburg, 1991.

In-Text Citation Example:

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

 Example: (Jacobson and Kysar 25)

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 you have three or more authors list only the first author's name followed by et al. instead of listing all authors names. For example Smith, John, et al. 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 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)


Note: The MLA considers the term "eBook" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an eBook reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These eBooks will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the Page or Section from a Website format.

Citations for eBooks closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an eBook by putting the term "eBook" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Works Cited List Example:

Silva, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, eBook, American Psychological Association, 2007.

In-Text Citation Example:

 (Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Silva 30)

Note: When no page numbers are listed on an eBook, cite the chapter number instead in your in-text citation. Example: (Smith ch. 2).  

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:

 Wolfteich, Claire E., editor. Invitation to Practical Theology: Catholic Voices and Visions. Paulist Press, 2014. 

In-Text Citation Example:

 (Last name page number)

 Example: (Wolfteich 103)

Electronic Materials

(More than one editor)

Works Cited List Example:

Kidwell, Jeremy, and Sean Doherty, editors. Theology and Economics: A Christian Vision of the Common Good. eBook, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 

In-Text Citation Example:

(Last name page number)

Example: (Kidwell and Doherty 103)

Translated Book

If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).

Works Cited List Example:

Boitani, Piero. The Bible and Its Rewritings. Translated by Anita Weston, Oxford UP, 1999.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Boitani 89)

Electronic Materials

Works Cited List Example:

Augustine. The Confessions of St. Augustine. Translated by Edward Bouverie Pusey, eBook, Floating Press, 1921.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Augustine 65) 

Chapters, Short Stories, Essays, or Articles From a Book (Anthology or Collection)

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Short Story, Essay, or Article." 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 essay, article, or short story. 

Works Cited List Example:

Boys, Mary C. “Learning in the Presence of the Other: Feminisms and the Interreligious Encounter.” Faith and Feminism: Ecumenical Essays, edited by Diane B. Lipsett, Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, pp. 103-114.

Note: The first author's name listed is the author of the chapter/essay/short story.

Note: If there is no editor given you may leave out that part of the citation.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Boys 110)

An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.

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

If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:

Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.

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

For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the entry name as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.

"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed., Dell, 1997, p. 369.

Online Reference book

Isaacson, Joel. "Monet, Claude." Grove Art Online, Oxford Art Online, | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798 | © 2020 University of Portland, All Rights Reserved