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).

The Basics

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.


Multiple Authors

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”

Other Contributors

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.

Multi-volume Work

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.

Reference Work

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,

Note also that titles of websites are not italicized.

Online Book

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,

Slabskate, William. The History of Connecticut Park Benches. New Haven: Foliage Press, 2001.

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:

Matt. 3:2

Mark 7:13

Alternatively, you can use shorter forms that are not followed by a period:

Mt 20:1

Mk 15:4

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).

More Information

For more information about how to cite books, see section 14.100ff. of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).



This page will teach you how to cite longer works such as books and reference works, as well as the chapters or entries in them.


Basic Format

Here’s the default format for citing a book:

Author, A. A. (year of publication). Title (translator or editor). Publisher. DOI or URL

And here’s what that might look like in practice:

Youngblood, A. (1999). Addicted to Facebook and fake news: Studies in gerontology (F. Finch, Ed.). We The North Press.

Whitman, W. (2016). An introduction to urinal etiquette. Pissoir Digital.

You can vary the format by replacing the author with an editor or a group. Leave out the DOI or URL if the book doesn’t have one:

Putin, V. (Ed.) (2017). The fate of the pierogi in Russian controlled Ukraine. Black Sea Press.

Now that you know the general format, check out the variations below for other examples.


You only need to indicate that your source is an audio book if that version is different in some way from the regular text (e.g., it is abridged):

Carbuncle, R. D. (2015). How to fake a fake smile (H. Glow, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Colgate Audio.


Here’s how to cite an electronic book that lacks a DOI:

Nibali, B. (2002). A brief history of the little black dress.

Multi-volume Work with Multiple Editors

The following entry includes two editors, an edition, and a specific volume:

Sharp, B., & Klunk, H. (Eds.). (2009). Famous Freudian slips: The complete anals (2nd ed., Vol. 3). Parapraxis Press.

Edition with Author and Editor

Templeton, R. (2009). The destructive work habits of slobs (T. V. Time, Ed.; 2nd ed.). Billabong University Press.

Republished Work

Idler, A., Freude, S., & Dung, C. (1999). Hope I don’t fall in love with you: Problems with patient-therapist transference (B. Stricter, Ed. & Trans.). Golden Gate Press. (Original work published 1928)

Providing the original date of publication is also important for editions of classic works of literature (e.g., Plato, Shakespeare, etc.).

Translated Book

Grettirsdottir, L. (2002). A brief introduction to Icelandic humour (T. Smith, Trans.). Oxbridge University Press.

If the title is in a foreign language, you can add an English translation in square brackets behind it.

Chapters and Entries

Basic Format

Here is the basic format for citing a specific section of a book:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (year of publication). Title of chapter or entry. In A. Editor, & B. Editor (Eds.), Book Title (pp. xx-xx). Publisher. DOI or URL

And this is what that looks like in practice:

Prune, B., & Bucket, C. J. (2017). Are splash parks a waste of water? In N. Green, & B. B. Gun (Eds.), Climate change and urban planning (pp. 14-19). Solar Press.

Now that you know the basic format, let’s look at a few sample variations.

Book Chapter, Reprinted from a Journal Article

Cork, V. (2005). The pedagogy of surprise. In B. P. MacDonald, & E. Sorenson (Eds.), Teaching with Emotion (pp. 89-102). Big Hat Press. (Reprinted from “The pedagogy of surprise,” 2001, Journal of Sentimentality, 4[3], 66-81,

Note that here the issue number of the article is placed in square brackets rather than parentheses.

Online Reference Work

Online works will typically lack page numbers:

Norton, F. (2010). Trauma. In H. Ypnosis (Ed.), The Gobsmack Encyclopedia of Psychology.

Other information that may be missing includes the author, editor, and date:

Adhocracy. (n.d.). In Dictionary of economic jargon. Retrieved January 11, 2019, from

When the entry lacks a date, you can provide a retrieval date instead.

For more information about citing books and sections of books, please see pp. 321-29 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).



Here is the basic format for citing books in your Works Cited:

Basic Book Format

In other words, there are only four elements that are essential. Beyond these four, you can add other information where relevant. For example, you can add a translator or editor, an edition, an original publication date, and so forth.

Here is how the same information is organized in our container chart:

Container for Books Image

Note that the final comma becomes a period in our actual citation.

Now that we know the basic format, let’s move on to some variations.


Multiple Authors

For two authors, keep the same order as they are listed in the source. Invert the first only:

Smith, John, and Bob Jones. Living with Mediocrity: The Challenges of Being Average. Quixotica Press, 2016.

For three or more authors, use the Latin abbreviation et al. (meaning and others):

Fudge, Phoebe, et al. The Theology of Chocolate. Epicurean Publications, 2013.

No Author

If there is no author for a work, simply start with the title.


If the book has an editor instead of an author, cite it as follows:

Yawn, Esther, editor. The Causes of Boredom: A Collection of Essays. Etcetera Press, 2017.

Author and Editor

If a book has an author and editor, cite it as follows:

McDermott, Louisa. The Reproductive Cycle of Meerkats. Edited by Henry Hammer, Reproduction Press, 2015.

Other Contributors

For more information on how to cite other contributors (e.g., translators), please see the page on citing authors.

Collection or Anthology

First cite the individual essay, chapter, poem, or other contribution. Then add the collection title as the container:

Noseworthy, Edward. “Indie Music and American Identity.” Contemporary Indie Music, edited by Alex Sharp, McCord Press, 2017, pp. 87-103.

Puidgemont, Juan. “Revolutionary Catalonian Soccer Commentators.” Collected Essays from the 20th Conference of Catalonian Soccer Historians, edited by Hendrik Cruyff, Ole Press, 2015, pp. 33-44.

Witty, Lisa. “A Poem for Lazy Perfectionists.” Anthology of Wisconsin Comic Poetry, Frank Uptight, general editor, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Risible Press, 2019, pp. 9-10.

If the selection is of significant length or weight (e.g., a play in a drama anthology), you can italicize the title.

Introduction or Afterword

Here is how you cite an introduction, preface, foreword, afterword, or any other similarly titled section:

Jackson, Deirdre. Introduction. The Priapic Value of Prefaces, by Jacques Derriere. Phallocentric Press, 1973, pp. vi-xxvi.

Pick whatever descriptive term is appropriate. If there is a unique title, then cite that instead:

Cement, Louis. “Biscuits and Graves: Watson’s Southern Aesthetic.” The Collected Poems of Earl T. Watson. Northwesterly UP, 2010, pp. vii-li.

If the text includes both a title and a label, cite both, but treat the label as supplemental information:

Piemaker, Cindy. “Egging On.” Preface. A Memoir of Baking Pies for Politicians, by Liberty Jones, Protest Press, 2021, pp. vi-viii.

If the author of the introduction or afterword is the same as the author of the work, then omit the first name later in the entry:

Whopper, Ernest. Epilogue. The True History of Lying, by Whopper, Truthiness Press, 2015.

Graphic Novels

Comic books—or graphic novels, as hipsters call them—are often part of a series. This makes them a bit like articles in a journal. Cite the title of the comic first and then add the series title and the issue number:

Splash, Paige. A Trail of Slime. Slugman, no. 8, Gutter Press, 2016.

If the issue and the series share the same title, then you need only cite it once:

Lascaux, Yves. Caveman. No. 1, Old Time Comics, 2002.

Should the comic book become part of a collection, you would add another container:

Splash, Paige. A Trail of Slime. 2016. The Complete Slugman, edited by Michael Omnibus, vol. 4, Gutter Press, 2017.

There are of course many other elements you could include. In particular, you might add other contributors (artists, letterers) as well as the original publication details (if the publisher of the collection has changed). Here is one example:

Lascaux, Yves. Caveman. Illustrated by Bertha Bush, lettering by Jean Old, no. 1, Old Time Comics, 2002. Neolithic Comics, edited by Frank Fly, vol. 1, Renaissance Reprints, 2011-15.

Reference Work

You can cite a reference work as a whole, or you can cite an individual entry. In the latter case, use quotation marks for the title of the selection you have used:

Ham, Sam. “Wildlife.” The Encyclopedia of Veganism. 2nd ed., Vinaigrette Publications, 2011, pp. 21-22.

An Edition

Information about what edition you have used can be included in the container:

Shackleton, Kitty. Fifty Great Hikes in or near Antarctica. 22nd ed., Edgeworth Press, 1999.

Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Edited by Ivan Hadinov, abridged version, Pocket Book Press, 2009.

For more information, about editions, see the section on versions on the containers page.

Multivolume Work

A work may be published in multiple volumes. Typically you would cite just the single volume you have consulted.

If this is the first information you have for the container, start with a capital:

Devereux, Bob, editor. The Secret Correspondence of Elizabeth I. Vol. 5, Essex Press, 1991.

Fielding, Annabel, editor. Famous Defamation Suits from Britain and France. Revised ed., vol. 7, Subpoena Press, 2001.

For more information about citing volumes, see the section on number on the containers page.

Original Publication Date

In some cases you may want to provide the original publication date. This supplemental information comes right after the title and before the first container:

Lively, William. The Spanish Comedy. 1598. Edited by Karen Sondheim, Oxbridge UP, 2014.

City of Publication

For books published prior to 1900, you are allowed to provide the city of publication rather than the publisher:

Murdoch, William. Four Constabulary Cases Selected for the Edification of the General Public. Toronto, 1897.

This is especially useful when you cannot find the publisher’s name.


There is no need to cite an author for the Bible. Be sure to cite the version you have used:

The Bible. New Emphatic Diaglot Version, Wilson Press, 2015.

If you accessed the Bible online, you can indicate that:

The Bible. New Emphatic Diaglot Version, Wilson Press, 2015. Bible Gateway, Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

Common Bible translations include the New International Version, the New King James Version, and the English Standard Version.


A dissertation is cited just like a regular book, except that it typically lacks a publisher. You can add the university and a brief description as supplemental information at the end:

Alford, M. L. Citation Guidelines and Rates of Depression at Welsh Universities. 2013. Post Hoc Institute, PhD dissertation.

If the institution includes the word university, shorten it to U.

For more information about citing books, see the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), especially the examples at the back.