How to Footnote a Book

Footnotes are in-text citations that are used in journal articles and research papers to provide readers with a reference to additional information, such as books on the particular subject. Footnotes can be written in two different styles, APA and MLA, which must be consistent with the format of your written work. If you are writing an APA-style paper, you must use the APA-style footnote guidelines. Keep in mind that footnoting your book references is not always a necessary step, and it is important to discern when it is or isn't appropriate to insert a footnote.

APA Style

Write the text that is to be footnoted. Insert the number in superscript after the punctuation mark of the sentence being footnoted. Do not place footnote numbers after dashes. If the sentence is written in parentheses, insert the footnote number within the parentheses. (Ref. 1)

Provide the book reference at the bottom of the page that contains the footnote. After the footnote numeral appears at the bottom, indent five spaces to begin the footnote for the first line. Then keep the subsequent lines flush with the left margin. Double-space the lines of the footnote.

Tell readers where to look for additional information. For APA style, include the author's last name and the date of the book publication. For instance, you can write "See York (1990) for additional information." Then, in your works cited page, have the bibliographic information for the reference available to readers.

MLA Style

Insert the footnote numeral in superscript Arabic numbers after the punctuation of the sentence to be footnoted. Place footnotes before dashes.

Add the footnote information at the bottom of the text on the same page. Begin the footnotes four lines below the end of the main text. Single space the footnote lines and start each new footnote off with five indented spaces. The subsequent lines are flush with the left margin. Insert a period and one space after the footnote number.

Type your explanatory note after the footnote number. To footnote a book in MLA format, you must mention the author's name followed by a page reference. For instance, you might write, "For additional information on this subject, see Phillips 5-9; for an oppositional view, see Carmine 52."

Provide the bibliographic information on the works cited or references page of your paper.

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