How to cite a textbook in MLA

MLA textbook citation

To cite a textbook in a reference entry in MLA style 8th edition include the following elements:

  1. Author(s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  2. Title of the book: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  3. Edition number: Include information about the edition if it is not the first.
  4. Publisher: Always use the abbreviated version, e.g: MIT P for MIT Press or Oxford UP for Oxford University Press.
  5. Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a textbook in MLA style 8th edition:

Author(s) name. Title of the book. Edition number ed., Publisher, Year of publication.

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:


A textbook with one author

Barnes, Michael. A New Introduction to Old Norse. Viking Society for Northern Research, 2007.

A textbook with two authors

Lindner, Albrecht, and Dieter Strauch. A Complete Course on Theoretical Physics: From Classical Mechanics to Advanced Quantum Statistics. Springer, 2019.

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