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MLA: Books

Citing books in MLA format

Books you include in your document's list of works cited will typically follow this ordering of elements:

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

In many cases this will be sufficient for correctly citing a book with a single author.  Of course many books have multiple authors; some have editors; some have no authors.  Below are some likely scenarios you will encounter and how you can adjust your citations accordingly.

 

Books with two or more authors

Authors should always be listed in your citation in the order they appear on the book.  The first author in your citation should be listed with their last name first, then their first name, while a second author should be listed with their first name first and their last name last.  For example:

Rolison, Maria, and Jackie Joyner. The Book We Wrote. Boston, Big League Press, 2019.

If there are more than two authors, only include the first author, then "et al."  For example:

Rolison, Maria, et al. The Book We Wrote. Boston, Big League Press, 2019.

 

Books with no authors

Agencies, corporations, and other groups can serve as authors when individuals are not listed.  In those cases simply include the group's name in place of the author.

Tourism Board of the City of Greenville. Sites and Attractions of Greenville. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

If the group is also the publisher, you can simply omit the author.  If there's no individual author or group to cite, omit the author element from your citation; the title will now be the lead element in your citation:

Sites and Attractions of Greenville. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

When you cite this item in the body of the paper using parenthetical or in-text citations, the opening word or words of the title can substitute for the author's last name. 

 

Books with editors

When a book has an editor rather than an author, you follow the same rules as before, but include "editor" after the name.  For example:

Rolison, Maria, editor. The Book We Wrote. Boston, Big League Press, 2019.

If a book has two or more editors, you again follow the same rules as before, but include "editors."  For example:

Rolison, Maria, and Jackie Joyner, editors. The Book We Wrote. Boston, Big League Press, 2019.

External Resources

External resources

Follow these links to learn more:


Sample papers: