How to Cite a Book in an Essay

MLA 8th edition: How to cite a book in an essay. This resource provides basic guidelines and examples for citing sources using the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th edition.

Checkout this video:

Introduction

There are two ways to cite a book in an essay: using a signal phrase or using parentheses.

When you use a signal phrase, include the author’s last name and the year the book was published. For example, (Smith 2016). If you mention the author’s last name in your sentence, you don’t need to include it again in parentheses. Just include the year the book was published. For example, Smith (2016) argues that…

If you’re just referring to the book as background information or making a general statement about it, you don’t need to include the author or year in your parentheses. For example, (The Great Gatsby).

What is a Book?

A book is a published work or document, typically consisting of a set of printed pages bound together and containing information, stories, or other written material.

How to Cite a Book in an Essay

There are two ways to cite a book in an essay: by providing information about the author in a parenthetical citation or by providing a full citation at the end of your essay.

When you provide information about the author in a parenthetical citation, you will want to format it as follows:

(Author Last Name, Year Published).

So, if you were citing the book The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, you would format your parenthetical citation as follows:

(Salinger, 1951).

If you are providing a full citation at the end of your essay, it will appear in your Works Cited page and will be formatted as follows:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher Name, Year Published.

The MLA Format

In MLA style, citing the works of others within your text is done with parenthetical citations. This method involves placing relevant source information in parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase. Generally, you want to provide the last name of the author and the specific page numbers of the source.

According to MLA style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. All entries in the Works Cited page must correspond to the works cited in your main text.

Basic book information (e.g. author, title, publisher, date) should be included in your Works Cited entries. When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items:
-Author name(s)
-Book title
-Publication date
-Publisher
-Location (pages)

The APA Format

In-text citations for books in APA format typically include the author’s last name, the year of publication and the page number on which the relevant information appears. For example: (Smith, 2016, p. 45). If you are quoting directly from the book, you will also need to include the page number in your in-text citation. For example: (Smith, 2016, p. 45), (Thompson, 2018, p. 78).

The Chicago Format

There are two types of note systems in Chicago Style: 1) full bibliographic notes and 2) shortened bibliographic notes.

Full bibliographic notes give complete information about all sources you consulted, read, or cited in your paper. The first time you cite a full source in your paper, you will give a full citation. Thereafter, you will give a shortened citation.

Shortened bibliographic notes give only the minimum amount of information about sources you consulted, read or cited in your paper. The first time you cite a shortened source in your paper, you will give a full citation. Thereafter, you will give only the minimum amount of information required for readers to find that source in your works cited list.

For both full and shortened citations, if there is more than one work by an author, arrange the works chronologically by year of publication, with the earliest work appearing first. If there are multiple works by an author published in the same year, distinguish them by adding lowercase letters (a, b, c) after the date; do not use commas between the dates and letters (e.g., 2009a).

The Harvard Format

In the Harvard style, a source is cited using the author’s surname and the date of publication. This is followed by the title of the work and the publication details. If there are more than one author, then the surnames of all authors are given, followed by ‘and’ before the final author’s name. If an organization is responsible for publication, then this should be given instead of the author’s name. The date of publication is given in brackets after the title of the work. Only the year is given, even if you have month and day information. Where there are multiple citations by the same author(s) for different years, these are ordered chronologically and separated by a comma. When there are two or more works cited together, they are separated by a semi-colon.

The Vancouver Format

Citing a book in an essay can be as simple as including the author’s name and the title of the book in your text. However, if you’re using a specific citation format, such as the Vancouver format, you’ll need to include more information.

The Vancouver format is often used in the medical and scientific fields, and it requires you to include the name of the author(s), the title of the book, the date of publication, and the page numbers you’re referencing. You’ll also need to include a full reference list at the end of your essay.

The Oxford Format

There are many different ways to cite a book in an academic essay. One popular format is the Oxford format, which is commonly used in the humanities and social sciences. This style of citation is very similar to the Chicago Manual of Style, so if you are familiar with that system, you should be able to use the Oxford system with little trouble.

To cite a book in Oxford style, you will need the following pieces of information:
-The author’s name
-The title of the book
-The year the book was published
-The publisher’s name

You will also need to decide whether you want to include a page number or not. If you are quoting from the book, you will probably want to include a page number, but if you are just mentioning it in passing, you may not need to.

Once you have gathered all of this information, you can put it into your essay like this:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Year of Publication. City of Publication: Publisher’s Name.

If you are including a page number, you would add it like this: Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Year of Publication. City of Publication: Publisher’s Name, page number(s).

Conclusion

Your paper should end with a conclusion that wraps up your argument and briefly states why your argument is significant. The following are ways you can integrate a citation into your paper’s conclusion.

If you’re discussing the importance of the book to your paper’s thesis, you might say something like, “As Smith argues in The Novel of Manners,

‘It is only through understanding other people’s customs, traditions, and values that we can hope to achieve genuine communication and mutual respect'” (123).

In this way, you signal to your reader that you are drawing on a source to support your claims. You also provide the page number so your reader can find thebook quickly if they want to read the full context of the quote.

Scroll to Top