On this page we review the rules for citing books. These guidelines follow the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). The examples provided illustrate the rules for both footnotes and final citations (in your bibliography).
Here’s the basic format for citing books in your bibliography:
If the author’s name is unknown, just start with the title.
When you cite the same source in a footnote, it will look a little different:
1. Thomas Petty, Mary Jane: The Biography (Los Angeles: High Street Press, 2001), 62.
In this case the name is not inverted, a specific page reference is provided, and the punctuation is different.
For additional elements, please see the variants below.
When a book has multiple authors, list them in the same order as on the title page:
1. Ian Wright and Lukas Obviüs, The Art of Mansplaining (Calgary: Red Neck Press, 2018), 33.
Wright, Ian, and Lukas Obviüs, The Art of Mansplaining. Calgary: Red Neck Press, 2018.
For any work that has four or more authors (or editors), use the abbreviation et al. after the first name in your footnote (e.g., 1. Bob Hermite et al., Growing Hasselberries). By contrast, in your bibliography et al. should be used only for works with more than ten authors. In such cases you can cite the first six or seven and then add the abbreviation.
Editor, Translator, Compiler
If the book has an editor, translator, or compiler (instead of an author), cite it as follows:
1. Peter Sfumato, ed., The Art of Chiaroscuro (White Horse: Dark Matter Publishing, 2017), 155.
2. Larry Rataxes, trans. War with the Elephants: The Official Account (Brussels: Brunhoff Press, 1998), 44.
3. Mark Cassidy, comp., When the Job Market is a Dust Bowl: Convocation Speeches During the Great Depression (Denver: Make Work University Press, 2009), 5.
Sfumato, Peter, ed. The Art of Chiaroscuro. White Horse: Dark Matter Publishing, 2017.
Rataxes, Larry, trans. War with the Elephants: The Official Account. Brussels: Brunhoff Press, 1998.
Cassidy, Mark. When the Job Market is a Dust Bowl: Convocation Speeches During the Great Depression. Denver: Make Work University Press, 2009.
If there are multiple editors, translators, or compilers, use the abbreviations eds., comps., and trans., and cite the names as follows:
1. Fidelity Castro and Manual Mirabal, eds., Perfecting the Cuban Cigar (Havana: Cuban Classics, 2008), 99-101.
Castro, Fidelity, and Manual Mirabal, eds. Perfecting the Cuban Cigar. Havana: Cuban Classics, 2008.
Author and Editor, Translator, or Compiler
Here is how you might cite a book that has an author as well as one or more editors, translators, or compilers:
1. Eugenie Arachide, Social Darwinism and the Problem of the Peanut Butter Allergy, ed. Lorne Kraftwerk and Amelia Shock, trans. William Smooth (Toronto: Anaphylactic Press, 2010), 14.
2. Bart Simon, An American Tune: The Concert in Central Park, ed. Paul Earfull (New York: Bookends, 2013), 49-51.
Arachide, Eugenie. Social Darwinism and the Problem of the Peanut Butter Allergy. Edited by Lorne Kraftwerk and Amelia Shock. Translated by William Smooth. Toronto: Anaphylactic Press, 2010.
Simon, Bart. An American Tune: The Concert in Central Park. Edited by Paul Earfull. New York: Bookends UP, 2013.
- When an editor, translator, or compiler is listed after the title, the plural form of the abbreviation is trans., or comp.
- If you’re listing multiple roles, retain the same order as on the original title page.
- Try to simplify elaborate phrases such as “Translated and introduced by” or “Edited and annotated by” to shorter forms such as “Translated by” or Edited by”
If a book contains another contribution that you find significant, you can mention it in your footnotes or bibliography. Here are just a couple of bibliographic examples. There are many more ways to describe the specific contribution:
Johnson, Bartholomew. Sky High: The Evolution of the Hook Shot. With a foreword by Stilt Chamberlain. Chicago: Jabbar Publications, 2017.
Wince, Irene. The Ethics of Animating Facial Expressions. In collaboration with Arnold Dimple. Buffalo: High Brow Press, 2015.
Note that ghost writers are usually introduced by a With (e.g., With Bob Johnson).
Chapter of a Book
If you want to highlight a specific chapter or section of someone’s book, you can do that! Do note that when you cite the page references in your footnotes, you have some choice: you can refer to a specific page, the chapter’s page range, or leave out the page range altogether:
1. Andrew Tipple, “Of Infidels and Zinfandels,” in The Sommelier’s Guide to Fighting Terrorism (Los Angeles: Portly Press, 2018), 13.
2. Fritz Wunderbar, “The First Word: Swear Word or Imperative?” chap. 2 in Essays on the Evolution of Language (Nottingham: Sherwood Publications, 2011).
Tipple, Andrew. “Of Infidels and Zinfandels.” In The Sommelier’s Guide to Fighting Terrorism, 1-18. Los Angeles: Portly Press, 2018.
Wunderbar, Fritz. “The First Word: Swear Word or Imperative?” Chap. 2 in Essays on the Evolution of Language. Nottingham: Sherwood Publications, 2011.
Notice that in the second example the specific chapter number is provided.
You can also arrange your bibliography entry slightly differently:
Wunderbar, Fritz. Essays on the Evolution of Language. Nottingham: Sherwood Publications, 2011. See esp. chap. 2, “The First Word: Swear Word or Imperative?”
Chapter in a Collection or Anthology
1. Antonia Narcisi, “Will Drones Replace Selfie Sticks?” in Selected TEDDY Talks: Inspirational Speeches from the 2016 Rome Conference, ed. Max Lubotsky and B. R. Mindful (Rome: Colossal Wait Publications, 2018), 88.
Narcisi, Antonia. “Will Drones Replace Selfie Sticks?” In Selected TEDDY Talks: Inspirational Speeches from the 2016 Rome Conference, edited by Max Lubotsky and B. R. Mindful, 72-99. Rome: Colossal Wait Publications, 2018.
Note the inclusion of the full page range (after the editors), as well as the fact that “edited” is not capitalized.
Introduction, Preface, Afterword
If you want to cite an author’s own introduction, preface, afterword, or similar section, you simply add the appropriate phrase:
1. Uluthando Jones, preface to A Zulu in Honolulu: A Memoir (San Francisco: Penguin Press, 2011), 3.
In such cases, the bibliographic entry can usually be simplified:
Jones, Uluthando. A Zulu in Honolulu: A Memoir. San Francisco: Penguin Press, 2011.
On the other hand, if the writer of the foreword (or similar section) differs from the author, you’ll need to provide more information:
1. John Hopper, afterword to Prison Break Dances, by Ed Bojangles, ed. Jane Worthy (San Antonio: Hobble Press, 2009), 8.
Hopper, John. Afterword to Prison Break Dances, by Ed Bojangles, 1-11. Edited by Jane Worthy. San Antonio: Hobble Press, 2009.
If you wish to cite from a work with multiple volumes, here’s how you do that:
1. Hazel Tipsy, ed. Missionary Activities of the Guzzling Society for Inebriation, 5 vols. (Waterloo, ON: On Tap Press, 2016), 3:45-46.
Tipsy, Hazel, ed. Missionary Activities of the Guzzling Society for Inebriation. 5 vols. Waterloo, ON: On Tap Press, 2016.
As you can see, in the footnote we’ve cited a passage from volume 3.
If the volume has an author and an editor, add the number of volumes after the editor’s name (assuming the author is cited first). If the volumes are published over a number of years, provide the first and last year of publication (e.g., 2005-2011).
To cite a specific volume in a footnote, identify the volume number and add the title (if there is one):
1. Hazel Tipsy, ed. Missionary Activities of the Guzzling Society for Inebriation, vol. 4, The Craft Beer Revolution (Waterloo, ON: On Tap Press, 2016), 3:45-46.
You can also place the editor’s name after the title if that’s what you prefer.
Finally, when you cite an individual volume in your bibliography, you can order the information in a couple of ways:
Cash, Brooke, ed. The Complete Guide to the Spendthrift Life. Vol. 3, Games and Gambles, edited by Rich Filthy. Los Angeles: Opulence Publications, 1999-2004.
Filthy, Rich, ed. Games and Gambles. Vol. 3 of The Complete Guide to the Spendthrift Life, edited by Brooke Cash. Los Angeles: Opulence Publications, 1999-2004.
In these examples the individual volume has its own editor.
When you cite a reference work such as a dictionary or encyclopedia, you can either supply a page reference or use the abbreviation s.v (sub verbo; the plural is s.vv.), which is Latin for under the word. This refers to the term or phrase that has been defined or explained in your source:
1. Dictionary of Emoticons, ed. Asahi Nakamura, 2nd ed. (Boston: Character Publications, 2017), s.v. “Lenny Face.”
Dictionary of Emoticons. Edited by Asahi Nakamura. 2nd ed. Boston: Character Publications, 2017.
For variations (authors, contributors, publication formats) follow the other examples found on this page.
In the case of online reference works, you will want to specify either a publication/revision date or an access date (when you last looked at the material). Conclude your citation with a URL:
1. Wikipedia, s.v. “Duels (uncivilized),” accessed June 15, 2018, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/duels-uncivilized.
Note also that titles of websites are not italicized.
A number of options are available when citing an online book. These include citing the e-reader used, listing the file format (e.g., PDF), and providing a URL or DOI.
Here’s how you would list the device you used to access the text:
1. John Nelson, Limiting Screen Time (Perth: Fibre Optic Press, 2018), p. 23, Kindle.
Nelson, John. Limiting Screen Time. Perth: Fibre Optic Press, 2018. Kindle.
The same format applies for other e-readers (Kobo, NOOK, etc.).
Since many e-books don’t have stable page numbers, you may often be better off citing chapter or section numbers. In fact, if you’re not sure that the electronic page numbers correspond to actual page numbers in a print version, then avoid using them in your citations.
In rare cases you may want to replace the e-reader with the format of the book (e.g., PDF) along with the program used to read it (e.g., Adobe Acrobat Reader):
Evans, Reginald Theodore. The Uses of Earwax. Denver: Humdrum Press, 2011. Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF.
Another popular way to cite e-books is to provide a URL or DOI. This works especially well for electronic books accessed through academic library catalogues:
1. William Slabskate, The History of Connecticut Park Benches (New Haven: Foliage Press, 2001), chap. 2, https://doi.org/10.1454/aj987sd09g.
Slabskate, William. The History of Connecticut Park Benches. New Haven: Foliage Press, 2001. https://doi.org/10.1454/aj987sd09g.
If you don’t think your reader will be able to access the text by using your link, then instead provide the database title (e.g., JSTOR).
Quotations from the Bible are cited either in footnotes or in parentheses in the text. There’s no need to cite the Bible in your bibliography.
Traditionally, Bible books are abbreviated (except for short titles) and chapter and verse are separated by a colon:
Alternatively, you can use shorter forms that are not followed by a period:
However, in the actual text of your essay you’ll usually want to spell out the full title:
Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 13 that charity is the greatest virtue.
Finally, at least for the first time you cite from the Bible you should indicate which version you have used:
2 Cor. 3:4 (New International Version)
If after that you wish to specify the version, you can use an abbreviation (e.g., NIV).
For dissertations, place the title between quotation marks and provide details on the type of thesis (master’s thesis, PhD dissertation, etc.) as well as the institution where it was written. You can end your entry with either a URL or with the database and identification number–both often followed by a page reference:
1. Erica Champagne, “When the Wedding Gets Called Off: Nontraditional Ways to Repurpose Bridesmaid Dresses” (PhD diss., University of Studupest, 2001), SpaceQuest (ABC 30910), 45-47.
Champagne, Erica. “When the Wedding Gets Called Off: Nontraditional Ways to Repurpose Bridesmaid Dresses.” PhD diss., University of Studupest, 2001. SpaceQuest (ABC 30910).
If you’ve consulted only the abstract, you can add the word abstract after the title:
1. Erica Champagne, “When the Wedding Gets Called Off: Nontraditional Ways to Repurpose Bridesmaid Dresses,” abstract (PhD diss., University of Studupest, 2001), SpaceQuest (ABC 30910).
For more information about how to cite books, see section 14.100ff. of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).