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how to cite a book

How to Cite a Book

There is a lot of way of formatting a book but the most popular and the common way is through MLA format. MLA stands for Modern Language Association. This is commonly used to cite a source or to write papers. Papers especially that deal with broad-based arts papers and mankind. However, if you can understand the basics of this format then it will be helpful for any type of authors and writers to know how to cite a book.

What information should you collect?


When you want to know about the sources of any book there are certain bibliographic records that need to be considered and they are

  • Name of the author and if there are multiple authors then all the names should be noted.
  • If the book has been translated then the translators’ name needs to be noted.
  • The names of the editors should be noted.
  • Note down the title of the book.
  • The date on which it was published.
  • The name of the person who has published the book.
  • The numbering of the pages within a book in a numerical manner which is known as ‘Pagination.’

Here are the following steps that one can follow to understand how to cite a book properly.

1. Name of the author:

The first step would be to write down the name of the author. This information you will be able to find on the initial pages of the book you are citing about. The common rule to follow while writing the author’s name in order to cite is the last name should be written first followed by the first name.

The last name and the first name should be separated by a comma. If it is required to add more author’s names or any more information in front of the author’s name after the first name a period should be given in order to divide the different information.

Sometimes a single book is written by multiple authors in which case whichever author’s last name comes first in the alphabetical order will be mentioned first. Along with this, the name of the second author will be written in the normal manner that is, the first name will come first and then the last name.

2. Book title:

Suppose you want to skip the first step then the first step will be writing the title of the book. The way that this is written is that the title should be written in Italic and it should be ended with a full stop.

3. Where it is published:

The next step would be to note down the city where the book was published in. This information also can be found in the first couple of pages of the book you wish to cite. Mention the name of the city and end with a period. In case the book does not have any city mentioned within it, you can skip this step.

4. Publisher’s name and year:

After searching for the city of publication next thing you will be looking for would be the person who has published the book and the year in which it was published. Again the first couple of pages in the place where you will find this information. Search for the name of the person who has published the book and write it down and this should be followed by the year in which it was published.

In order to separate these two information a comma should be used and a period in the end. Commonly there is a copyright sign ‘©’ before the year on which the book was published and the name of the company that has published the book is mentioned many times in the book.

5. The medium of the source:

Writing the medium of the publishing is the next step to know how to cite a book. When we say medium it means that medium where all this source has been published. For example, if the source is written in a book then the medium will be ‘print,’ whereas if the source is written on the internet the medium will be ‘web.’ As usually this also will end with a period.

6. How to include multiple citations!

You might choose to cite multiple books in which case all the books that you want to cite should be written in an alphabetical manner by looking at the author’s last name. Sometimes the citations might be long and tend to continue to the next line, in this case when it goes to the next line it should start from further away from the margin or we can say it should be indented.

If there are multiple citations then you should make sure that every citation belongs to their particular published book. There is another way of making sure that this information is correctly cited, that is, by making use of an online machine meant for citation and entering all the above-mentioned information in it which will further create citations automatically. But again it might give some errors sometimes.

Citation of Other Information


All the steps mentioned above is just a brief look at how citation should be written of a book that has been printed. There is more to this, there are many other printed materials that you can cite like, newspapers, journals, magazines are some of them. There are several resources available if you want to use the network which is digital in nature. Every resource has its own format that is MLA type.

There are a lot of online formatting websites that will help you to know how to cite a book appropriately. Apart from the MLA format, there is an APA format that is used which stands for ‘American Psychological Association.’

If you think you do not have a lot of time to spend on this and wish to speed up the process there is the reliable machine that is automated that you can use for citation. However, machines usually make errors and checking your work is always a good idea.

Aditi Potdar

Aditi Potdar

I have completed Diploma in CS. I love dancing, But since am creative by nature I like to write articles, blogs and books.

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