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How to Quote a Book: Cite Sources Like a Pro

Julia McCoy
Thursday, 25th Apr 2024
how to quote a book

You’re writing a paper and you need to quote a book, but you’re not sure how. Maybe you’re worried about getting the format wrong or leaving out important information. Don’t stress – I’ve got you covered.

Quoting a book can seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually pretty simple once you know the basics.

In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to quote a book like a pro. We’ll cover the key elements to include, the different citation styles, and some helpful examples.

By the end, you’ll be confidently quoting books left and right.

So, let’s dive in and master the art of how to quote a book together!

Table Of Contents:

How to Quote a Book: Basic Elements

When citing a book in your work, there are some key pieces of information to include.

First things first, you’ll need the author’s name. Make sure to format it correctly according to the citation style you’re using.

The book title is also crucial — be sure to italicize it or put it in quotation marks as required.

Learn how to write a book title in an essay according to different style guides.

Don’t forget to add the publication year and publisher name, as these help readers locate the source if needed.

And of course, always include the specific page number(s) where your quote appears. This allows others to easily find the context and verify the information.

How to Cite a Book Using APA Style

Now that you know what information to include, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of APA format. This popular style, developed by the American Psychological Association, is commonly used in the social sciences.

how to quote a book

In-Text Citations for Books

In APA, in-text citations follow the author-date format. This means you’ll include the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses after the quote.

If you’re citing a specific part of the book, add the page number(s) as well.

Here’s an example: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley” (Steinbeck, 1937, p. 25).

Creating a Reference List Entry

In addition to the in-text citation, you’ll need to create a full reference list entry for the book. The basic format is:

Author Last Name, First Initial. (Publication Year). Book title in italics. Publisher Name.

So for our Steinbeck example, the entry would be:

Steinbeck, J. (1937). Of mice and men. Covici Friede.

Formatting Rules for APA Book Citations

Some key things to keep in mind when formatting your APA book citation:

  • List authors by last name and initials, using commas to separate multiple authors
  • Place the year of publication in parentheses immediately after the author’s name(s)
  • Italicize the book title and capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns
  • Use a period after the author, year, book title, and at the very end of the citation

With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be able to create a properly formatted APA citation and build a polished reference list to impress your readers.

Citing Books in MLA Format

If you’re working on a paper for a literature or humanities course, chances are you’ll be using MLA style.

Developed by the Modern Language Association, this citation format is a favorite of English majors everywhere.

how to quote a book

In-Text Citations for Books in MLA

For in-text citations, MLA uses the author-page method. After your quote, include the author’s last name and the page number(s) in parentheses, with no comma between them.

For instance: “Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other” (Steinbeck 35).

Works Cited Page Entries for Books

On your Works Cited page, the citation for a book will follow this format:

Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title in Italics. Publisher, Publication Year.

So our Steinbeck example would appear as:

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Covici Friede, 1937.

Formatting Guidelines for MLA Book Citations

Here are a few key formatting rules for MLA book citations:

  • List author names in standard order (First and Last)
  • Italicize the book title and capitalize all major words
  • Include the publisher’s name and year, separated by a comma
  • End the citation with a period

With these guidelines, you’ll be able to create MLA citations like a pro. Just remember, if you’re ever unsure, consult the official MLA Handbook or ask your friendly neighborhood librarian for help.

Quoting Books Using Chicago Style

If you find yourself writing a paper for a history or fine arts class, you might encounter Chicago-style citations. This format, based on the Chicago Manual of Style, relies on footnotes or endnotes to cite sources.

Footnotes and Endnotes for Book Quotations

When quoting a book in Chicago style, you’ll include a superscript number in the text where the quote appears. This will correspond to a footnote or endnote with the full citation information.

The note format for a book is:

Author First Name Last Name, Book Title in Italics (Publication Place: Publisher, Year), page number(s).

For example: John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men (New York: Covici Friede, 1937), 25.

Bibliography Entries for Books

In addition to the notes, you’ll include a bibliography entry for each source. For a book, the format is:

Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title in Italics. Publication Place: Publisher, Year.

So our Steinbeck bibliography entry would look like this:

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Covici Friede, 1937.

Chicago Manual of Style Formatting Tips

Keep these formatting rules in mind for your Chicago-style book citations:

  • In notes, cite specific pages; in the bibliography, omit page numbers
  • In notes, place publication info in parentheses; in bibliography, use periods
  • Italicize book titles in both notes and bibliography
  • In the bibliography, add a period at the end of each entry

Additional Resources:

FAQs – How to Quote a Book

How do you properly quote a book?

To nail it, include the author’s last name, publication year, and page number in parentheses right after the quote.

How do you write a quote for a book?

Start by framing your text with quotation marks. Then blend in citation details like author and page number.

How do you quote a book in a post?

Craft your post by weaving quotes into your narrative. Cite them with the author’s name and page number close by.

How do you quote a sentence from a book in MLA?

Drop the quoted line into your work followed by (Author’s Last Name Page Number) without skipping a beat.


There you have it — everything you need to know about how to quote a book like a citation champion. We covered the essential elements, the different styles, and how to handle tricky scenarios.

Remember, the key is to be thorough and consistent. Always include the author, title, publication year, and page numbers. Follow the formatting rules for your chosen style, whether it’s APA, MLA, or Chicago. And don’t be afraid to double-check your work or consult a style guide if you’re unsure.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to tackle any book quote that comes your way. Your writing will be stronger, your sources properly credited, and your professors impressed.

Written by Julia McCoy

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