How to Cite a Book With Multiple Authors Using MLA Style

Updated February 21, 2017

When you are writing a term paper or working on a longer term research project, it is important to keep track of your sources of information so that you can credit them for contributing to your own original conclusions. While traditionally this type of credit has been given via footnote, more recent forms of citation actually occur within the text of a paper in abbreviated form and refer a reader to a more detailed reference at the end of the document. One of the most popular forms of this type of citation is MLA style, which enables a writer to use a parenthetical note in the text that directs a reader to a simple resource reference on a "Works Cited" page. MLA is especially popular in undergraduate classrooms where the process of citing references may be a new experience for students. It is likely that you will frequently encounter books that are written by multiple authors. The reference for these books must be structured in such a way as to give credit to all contributors. Read on to learn how to cite a book with multiple authors using MLA style.

Write the authors' names, followed by a period. If there are only two authors, then you need to list both in the same order that their names appeared on the title page. The first author's name should be listed last name, then first name and subsequent authors' names will be listed with the first name first. The last in the list will be joined to the list by the word "and." For example, if the book was written by Ann Joelson and Liddy Bettly, then your citation would read, thus far: Joelson, Ann, and Liddy Bettly. If there are more than two authors, you have the option of simply writing "et al." after the first author's name. If Ann Joelson, Liddy Bettly and Jacob Hurley had written the book, the citation would look like this: Joelson, Ann, et al.

Follow the authors' names with the title of the book and a period. The title should be italicized if possible. If your word processor cannot support italics, use an underscore to indicate that the title is meant to be underlined. For example, if the book's title is "Chasing the Dream of the Chimps," then your citation would, at this point, look like this: Joelson, Ann, and Liddy Bettly. _Chasing the Dream of the Chimps.

Add the city where the book was published and a colon. This information can usually be found on the inside cover of the book or on the title page. For example, if the book was published in Hampton, Utah, then at this point your citation should look like this:

Joelson, Ann, and Liddy Bettly. _Chasing the Dream of the Chimps. Hampton:

List the publisher, followed by a comma. For example, if your book was published by Ellerton Brothers Publishing, then your citation will read: Joelson, Ann, and Liddy Bettly. _Chasing the Dream of the Chimps. Hampton: Ellerton Brothers Publishing,

Finish with the year that the book was published and a period. If your book was published in 2003, then your finished citation will look like this: Joelson, Ann, and Liddy Bettly. _Chasing the Dream of the Chimps. Hampton: Ellerton Brothers Publishing, 2003.


Citations are very important because they allow you to credit other researchers' work and avoid accusations of plagiarism, which is directly or indirectly taking credit for work that is not yours. Plagiarism often results in expulsion from your academic program and total loss of credibility, so it is vitally important that you carefully cite all research that went into the formulation of your conclusions.

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