How to Write A BOOK Title In An Essay

Writing a book title in an essay can be confusing. But it is necessary for the credibility and clarity of the write-up. Plus, each writing style has its own rules for formatting titles. Hence, doing such an activity could be a real pain for the students.

Don’t worry, as you are in the right place! Since this interesting article focuses on guiding you about how to write a book title in an essay accurately. So, read it thoroughly before you search for a professional paper writing services provider.

Understanding Formatting Guidelines

The first step in learning how to write book name in essay is to learn the basics. It means you need to get comfortable with different formatting guidelines. Let’s begin with the style guides.

Different style guides

When writing essays for college, it’s important to know the rules for formatting book titles. The three most popular style guides are MLA, APA, and Chicago.

MLA Style

In MLA format, you should usually italicize book titles. You can also put them in quotation marks when a type of work demands.

For example, a book title like “To Kill a Mockingbird” would be italicized: To Kill a Mockingbird.

However, a chapter title within a book would be placed within quotation marks. For example, “The Ewell Family.”

APA Style

In APA style, the first word of book titles is capital.

For example, a book title like “The Catcher in the Rye” would be written as The catcher in the rye

Chicago Style

Chicago style demands a book title to be in italics or quotation marks. It is very similar to the MLA style. But Chicago style gives you a bit more leeway to use italics or quotation marks. It’s best to stay consistent with what you pick throughout your essay when using the Chicago style.

Consistency within the Essay

You must be consistent when including the title of a book in an essay. Figure out what style guide you must follow and ensure you stick with it. That means all the book titles you mention should look the same.

For example, if you choose to italicize book titles according to MLA style. Ensure that all book titles in your essay are italicized consistently. Avoid mixing italicization with quotation marks or using different formatting styles within the same essay.

Inconsistency in formatting can confuse readers and undermine the professionalism of your work. Paying attention to detail and maintaining consistency will contribute to your essay’s overall clarity and readability.

Determine the Appropriate Style Guide to Follow

To determine the appropriate style guide to follow for formatting book titles in your essay, consider the following:

Assignment Requirements

See if your teacher or the instructions for the assignment mention a certain style to go by. Stick to that, if they do, to ensure everything is consistent, and you meet the expectations.

Academic Discipline

Your field of study can affect which style guide you should use. For example, humanities and literature students usually use MLA style, while social sciences usually use APA style. It’s important to know what’s typical in your discipline to choose the right guide.

Formatting Book Titles in MLA Style

Humanities and liberal arts disciplines use MLA writing rules. In MLA style, book titles are usually in italics like in APA style. But there can be variations in capitalization and punctuation. Let’s explore each aspect in detail with examples:


In MLA style, book titles are put in italics to make them stand out from the rest of the text.

Titles of shorter works, such as articles or chapters, are enclosed in quotation marks.

Example 1: Italicized Book Title

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.

Example 2: Book Chapter (In Quotation Marks)

Smith, John. “The Art of Persuasion.” Essays on Rhetoric.


In MLA style, follows the title case. It means keep the first letter of each word capital. Capitalize articles, conjunctions, and prepositions only if they are the first or last words in title.

Example 3: Correct Capitalization

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.


In MLA style, there should be no special punctuation like colons or periods between the main title and any subtitles. However, if the book’s title includes a subtitle, a colon should separate it from the main title.

Example 4: Book Title with Subtitle

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success.

Edition and Volume Numbers

To refer to a certain book edition, add the edition number after the book title. If the book is part of a multi-volume work, indicate the volume number after the title as well.

Example 5: Edition and Volume Numbers

Johnson, Mary. Chemistry in Focus. 2nd ed.

Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Vol. 1.

Translated Titles

If the book you are citing is translated from another language, include the original title and the translator’s name in the citation.

Example 6: Translated Title

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Translated by David Wyllie.

It’s important to remember that MLA style is always changing and being updated. So always refer to the latest edition of the MLA Handbook or your institution’s writing guidelines.

Formatting Book Titles in APA Style

Usually the social sciences disciplines use APA (American Psychological Association) style. Let’s look at how you must consider capitalization, punctuation and italics in this writing style.


Just capitalize the first word of any subtitles and proper nouns.

All other words, such as articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or), and prepositions (in, on, at), are in lowercase.

Example 1: 

“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”


In APA style, book titles are italicized to distinguish them from the rest of the text.

Do not italicize titles of shorter works, such as articles or chapters. Just enclose them in quotation marks.

Example 2: Italics

Here’s an example of an italicized book title:

The Catcher in the Rye


In APA style, there should be a colon (:) between the main title and any subtitle.

When citing a book title within the text of your paper, use title case and italicize it.

When including book titles in your reference list, use sentence case and italicize it.

Example 3: Punctuation

Here’s an example of proper punctuation and citation within the text and reference list:

In-text citation

According to Smith (2019), The Theory of Everything provides an in-depth analysis of astrophysics.

Reference list citation

Smith, J. (2019). the theory of everything. Publisher.

Edition and Volume Numbers

Include the edition number in parentheses right after the book title when a book has a specific edition.

If a book is part of a multi-volume work, you can also indicate the volume number after the title.

Example 4: Parenthesis

Here are examples of how to format book titles with edition and volume numbers:

Edition Number

Johnson, M. (2022). Chemistry in Focus (2nd ed.).

Volume Number

Smith, A. (2021). History of the United States (Vol. 3).

Translated Titles

Include the translator’s name in square brackets if you cite a translated book. 

Example 5: Translated Thesis 

Here’s an example of how to format a translated book title:

Kundera, M. (1984). The Unbearable Lightness of Being [Original title: Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí].

Translated by M. Henry.

Formatting Book Titles in Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is mostly used in the humanities and social sciences disciplines. Chicago style follows two systems, namely Author-Date System and the notes and bibliography system. Let’s explore both of them.

Author-Date System

In the author-date system, you include:

  • In-text citations with the author’s last name
  • The publication year
  • A corresponding entry in the reference list


In the author-date system, book titles are italicized. It makes them Distinguish from other elements in the citation.


Chicago style uses a title case for book titles in the author-date system. It means the first letter of the title, subtitles, and any major words are capitalized.


There should be a period at the end of the full book citation in the reference list.

Example 1: In-Text Citation

According to Smith (2019), The Theory of Everything provides an in-depth analysis of astrophysics.

Example 2: Reference List Citation

Smith, John. 2019. The Theory of Everything. Publisher.

Notes and Bibliography System

You use footnotes or endnotes in the notes and bibliography system for in-text citations and a bibliography for the full list of references.


Similar to the author-date system, book titles are italicized in the notes and bibliography system.


In the notes and bibliography system, the Chicago style uses headline-style capitalization for book titles. It means that the first letter of the first and last words of the title are capitalized.


Put a period at the end of each full bibliographic entry in the notes and bibliography system.

Example 3: Footnote/Endnote Citation

John Smith, The Theory of Everything (Publisher, 2019), 25.

Example 4: Bibliography Citation

Smith, John. The Theory of Everything. Publisher, 2019.

Edition and Volume Numbers

You may include the edition number after the title, and for multi-volume works, the volume number after the title.

Example 5: Edition Number

Johnson, Mary. Chemistry in Focus. 2nd ed.

Example 6: Volume Number

Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Vol. 1.

Translated Titles

For translated works, include the original title and the translator’s name in the citation.

Example 7: Translated Title

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Translated by David Wyllie.

Citation of Book Titles in Other Situations

Let’s highlight some unusual circumstances of including a title of book in essay. Starting with:

Book titles within quotations

If you’re citing a direct quote from a book in your essay, you may need to put the book title in quotes. Generally, you should use double quotation marks for this.

For example:

According to Mark Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

In the novel 1984, George Orwell explores the theme of government surveillance through the famous line, “Big Brother is watching you.”

By using double quotation marks, you indicate that the words within the quotation marks are taken directly from the book.

Book Titles in Footnotes or Endnotes

In academic writing, footnotes or endnotes can be added to give extra info or credits. When including book titles, how you format them depends on the citation style you’re using.

In Chicago Style, book titles in footnotes or endnotes should usually be italicized or in quotation marks.

For Example:

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Penguin Classics, 2002), 45.

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006), 77.

Handling Foreign language book titles

Follow these rules for citing a book in a foreign language. You should keep the original language title, especially if it’s a popular work.

MLA Style

Italicize the foreign language book title following the same guidelines as you would for an English book title. Include a translation in parentheses if necessary.

APA Style

Use the original foreign language title in sentence case without italics or quotation marks. Include a translation in brackets if needed.

Chicago Style

Italicize or use quotation marks for foreign language book titles, following the same guidelines as you would for an English book title. Include a translation if required.

Special Cases

In certain situations, you might need to format book titles differently. Like if you’re talking about a poem or play. These types of works have their own rules for formatting titles. Let’s get to know them briefly. 


Typically, you’d put poem titles in quotation marks and longer pieces of poetry, like epics, in italics. It’s worth checking the style guide you’re using, though, since the rules can vary.


You’ll usually see the title written in italics when it comes to plays. The names of characters or speakers within the play are usually written with a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, without quotation marks.

Best Practices for Including Book Titles in Essays

Double-check Formatting Guidelines

It’s super important to double-check the formatting rules for book titles when writing an essay since each style guide has its own rules. You need to make sure you’re following them properly.

Proofreading for Accuracy and Consistency

Look out for mistakes in how you’ve done the capitals, italics, and quotes. Double-check any extra rules that might apply to foreign language books, poems, plays, and other special cases.

Seek Assistance from Style Guides or Writing Resources

It’s a good idea to get help from style guides or writing tools when you are stuck with citations. You can also buy cheap essay from a well-reputed writing services provider.


It’s super important to get book titles in essays right. Not just for clarity but also to show you’re a pro. Ensure that you stick to the accurate style guide. It could be MLA, APA, or Chicago. Plus, there are special rules for poems and more.

Furthermore, if you need a professional to help you out with citations, do count on the expertise of our writers. They are always available to get you out of your troubles of how to write book titles in essays.


plus-icon Do I need to include book titles in my essay?
Yes, it's crucial to include book titles in your essay for clarity and credibility. It pinpoints the sources you're referencing and gives props to the original authors or works that have shaped your opinions or arguments.
plus-icon How do I format book titles in MLA style?
In MLA style, book titles as standalone should be italicized, and titles within bigger works should be in quotation marks. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird is italicized as a standalone, while 'The Ewell Family' is in quotes.
plus-icon Should I italicize or use quotation marks for book titles in APA style?
In APA style, book titles don't get italicized or put in quotation marks if they're standalone works. Just write them in sentence case. If they're part of something bigger, like a chapter, use quotes.
Explore More

Related Blogs

24 hr support
24/7 Support

Connections with Writers and support

safe service
Safe Service

Privacy and Confidentiality Guarantee


Average Quality Score