MLA Works Cited Page: Books

According to the requirements of the 8th edition of the MLA handbook, the writer must indicate certain elements in each source: author, title, edition, page numbers, etc. In the new edition there were some changes:

  • Previously, the publisher, publication date and pagination were separated by periods, now commas are used.
  • Medium is no longer necessary.
  • Containers have become a mandatory part of the note. A comma is placed after the container header.
  • If the title of a research paper has a DOI, use it instead of URLs.
  • You don’t need to use date enumerations or abbreviations “n/a”. Use the term “Available” instead.

This is what the standard citation format looks like:

Author. Title of the book. Container name (not needed for individual novels), Other contributors (editors or translators), Version (or edition), Number (volume), Publisher, Date of publication, Location (pages, paragraphs, URL or DOI). Name of the second container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Date of publication, Location, Date of access.

Basic book format

First, enter the last name, then the name of the author of the book. Then the city of publication, publisher, date of publication. Please note that the city of publication can be used only in 3 cases:

  • The book was published before 1900.
  • The publisher has offices in more than one country.
  • Publisher unknown in North America.


Epstein, Mikhail. Transcultural Experiments: Russian and American Models of Creative Communication. New York, St. Martin’s Press (Scholarly and Reference Division), 1969.

Multi-author book

Arrange the authors in the footnote in the order in which they appear in the book. Write the last name of the author who is presented first in the book, then indicate his name, then the names of the authors are listed in the usual order. For instance:

Harmon, Deborah and Toni Jones. Elementary Education: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, 2005.

If the book has more than two authors, include only the first author, then add “et al.” (Lat. “And others”) instead of the names of subsequent authors. Note that after the “al” in “et al.” there is a point. Also, note that after the “et” in “et al.” no point is put.

Cahn, Steven M. et al. Classic and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Education. New York, McGraw Hill, 1997.

Two or more books by the same author

List the titles of the books in alphabetical order. Don’t use prepositions like A, An and The. Include the last name and first name of the author only in the first entry. In each subsequent note, use three hyphens and a period. For instance:

Fitzgerald, Francis Scott Key. This side of paradise.

—. The Great Gatsby.

Corporate author books

If the book is written by an organization or a corporate author, several people are contributing to it. They make up a commission, committee, government agency, or group. As a rule, the first and last names of these people are not indicated on the title page.

Include the names of corporate authors where the author’s name usually appears. For instance:

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

If the author and publisher are the same person, skip the author and include a title. Then list the corporate author in the position where the publisher is usually located in the note. For instance:

Fair Housing — Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

Book without author

The title of the book comes first. The note should be in alphabetical order as if it were the author. In the example below, the note without the author is at position 3, and does not break alphabetical order:

  1. Loyn, H. R. “Scholasticism”. The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia, In Loyn, H. R. (ed.), London: Thames and Hudson, 1989, pp. 293-294.
  2. Martin, Janet. “Medieval Russia 980-1584”. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  3. “Mediaeval”. “The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: Complete Text Arranged Micrographically”. Volume I A – 0. Glasgow, Oxford University Press, 1971, p. M290.
  4. Miglio, Massimo. “Curial Humanism seen through the Prism of the Papal Library”. In Mazzocco, Angelo (ed.), Interpretations of Renaissance Humanism, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, Leiden, Brill, 2006, pp. 97-112.

If you are citing a book without an author in the text in brackets, indicate the title of the work and the page number. You can shorten the title of the book if it is too long.

Translated book

If you want to quote from a translated book, write a note as you would for a regular book. Then add “translated” and include the name or names of the translators.

Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Vintage-Random House, 2007.

You can also specify the translator’s name as the author’s name. After the name, put the label “Translator”. If the author of the book is not listed in the title of the book, include the name marked “Author” after the title of the book and before the publisher.