How To Cite An eBook in MLA: Important Details You Need To Know

by CJ McDaniel // January 14  

It’s time to learn how to cite an eBook in MLA. This post will give you all the information you need to accomplish that.

E-book citations from the outside may seem difficult. But with the right information, you won’t struggle to cite your sources in the right way.

We have managed to explain how you can cite your eBook using the MLA citation style. So keep reading to know more.

How Do You Cite An eBook in MLA?

E-book citation in MLA is almost as it’s done on a hardcopy. But there are things you need to include to show that you are citing an e-book. 

You have to show that you’re citing an e-book in MLA. You can add the version of the e-book (Nook, Kindle, EPUB), or use the term “e-book” where you have “version” written (But only when you don’t know the e-book’s version. 

The simple format for citing an eBook in MLA is as follows.

Author(s) name. The Title of the e-book. Version, Publisher, The Year of Publication. 

Below is a good example of e-book citation in MLA.

Peter, Jenifer. Big Shark. Creative Living Styles. EPUB ed., Penguin, 2018.

When citing an e-book with a single author and retrieved from a digital archive, here’s how the finished work should look like.

Morrison, Parker. The Moonlight. Epub version, Internet Archive, 1998.

Citing eBook in MLA: Important Details To Note

Citation in MLA is quite simple. It would only appear tricky when one doesn’t know the right format or how to use it.

When you check the MLA citation format provided, you will find various elements. These include author(s) name, book title, version, the publisher, and the publication year.

Now, let’s explain in detail what those elements are.

The author(s) name:

The book owner is the author. And as you can see, the author(s) name appears first on the MLA format.

A book can have more than one author. It can have two or even more authors. The e-book cited in MLA at the beginning of this post has just one author.

The question many people might be asking at this point is how do you cite an e-book in MLA with multiple authors?

The thing is you must acknowledge all the authors that wrote the book. It doesn’t matter if they are more than two.

Whether you’re acknowledging one or more authors, the golden rule is to write the author’s last name and first name.

So, for one author, it would be (Peters, Susan).

For two authors, reverse the first name only, accompanied by ‘and’ and then the second name. Here’s an example (Peters, Susan, and Susan, Peters).

How do you cite an e-book in MLA with three authors? Again, this one is simple.

If you’re dealing with three or more authors, here’s what you should do. List the first author (last name followed by the first name), then write et al.

An example is Peters, Susan, et al.

  • The eBook Title:  

The book’s title is also part of the things to include when citing an e-book in MLA. Now, look at the MLA citation format. You would observe that the “Title of the book” part was italicized. That’s how it should be.

A Handy Tip:  You should only italicize a title in MLA when it’s independent. Don’t italicize if it’s part of a bigger source. Instead, consider adding quotation marks.

  • The Version:

An e-book must have a version, and you have to mention that when citing the book in MLA. The “version” could be Kindle, Nook, PDF, or EPUB.

It’s always important to describe the electronic format the book was in. And it could be any of the above formats.

For example, if the e-book was in Kindle format, then write Kindle ed.

If the book’s file type was EPUB, then write EPUB ed. And note; the abbreviation “ed” means edition.

A Handy Tip: If you don’t know what the file type is, don’t use any version. Just use ‘e-book’ instead. That covers everything.

  • The Publisher: 

Who published the e-book? You need to state that in your citation. But keep in mind that there’s no point in writing the name of the publisher in full. It’s better to use an abbreviation in part of the words.

For example, if Oxford University Press published the book, write Oxford UP.

  • The publication year:

What year was the book published? You have to state that when citing in MLA. Check the source; you’ll find the publication year of any book you wish to cite.

Why Citing Sources Is Crucial In Writing

Regardless of how knowledgeable you strongly believe you are on a subject, you sometimes need to depend on others’ ideas. Even the famous scientist, Sir Isaac Newton recognized this in his letter to Robert Hooke in 1965.

Newton acknowledged that he made it thus far because he had the chance to stand on other giant’s shoulders. And the giant in question refers to other great scientists like himself.

So, there’s nothing wrong with using information from other authors in your paper or book. Failure to give credit to whom it’s due is where the problem is.

Let’s discuss the reasons why citing your sources is critical.

Helps you avoid plagiarism:

As an author, if you want to build a solid reputation, plagiarism is one offense you should never commit. Nothing can drag one’s career as an author to the mud than plagiarism. So, avoid plagiarism at all costs.

Plagiarism is the theft of others’ intellectual property. And in most cases, it’s considered a misdemeanor. Punishment for such offenses could range from $100 to $50,000 and one year jail term or either.

Furthermore, under some federal and state laws, plagiarism can be regarded as a felony. And the worst part is cases like these are challenge to win in the court of law.

Plagiarism is a serious issue, that’s why we’re emphasizing it. So it is better to do the right thing before having your book published. Cite your sources accurately and consistently.

Improves your writing:

Citing sources is a great step to becoming a better author or writer. It helps to eliminate the hallmark of sloppy writing, intellectual laziness, and fuzzy thinking.

Citing your sources accurately can add more value to your book or paper. It would help to eliminate any form of doubt in your readers’ minds.

Using clichés like “As they say” or stating facts without backing them up, would cause readers not to take your words seriously. It could even push them to doubt the entire information in your book.

So, do the right thing when you state facts. Back them up by providing references, so that readers and critiques won’t any room to doubt your work.

Helps you build strong reputation:

A well-cited book not only shows that you have sound knowledge of the subject. It enables you to build substantial credibility among your peers and readers.

A well-cited book is an indication that an author isn’t lazy. But failure to cite your sources gives room for readers, critiques, and authors like yourself to doubt your book’s credibility. In fact, no one takes such authors seriously in the publishing world.

A tool for fact-checking:

You can’t just mention facts in your book and expect readers to buy in. You need to cite your sources so that those interested can verify the points or facts stated.

Keep in mind that the sources you cite in your book would serve as fact-checking tools for readers, authors, and critiques. And know that most readers may not check all your references if the few ones checked were accurate.

So, citing your sources is not only about providing a bunch of references. Ensure they are also accurate.

Readers have access to more information:

Another reason to cite your sources accurately is to allow readers to read further, whenever they please. Your readers may want to get in-depth understanding about a particular point or idea stated in your book. And with accurate citation, they can do that.

So, even if you don’t provide much information about facts or points, your readers won’t complain if you cite your sources accurately. Those who have an interest in acquiring more knowledge can look up your references.

Serves as a verification tool:

Publishing houses have a reputation to protect. That’s why they don’t just publish any book or paper sent to their table. They have to verify the facts to know if the paper is worth publishing.

Verification is crucial to publishing houses as no one wants to be in the news for the wrong reasons. So, your book or article has to be vetted multiple times before printing or publishing on a website. The references provided would make it easier for publishing houses to verify your work.


So we hope we have answered the question regarding how to cite an e-book MLA. Citation, whether in MLA or other styles, is crucial in writing. If done correctly, it can make you much better as a writer and help you avoid plagiarism. It can also make your work valuable to readers and publishing houses.

A well-cited book makes the job easier for the writer and the reader. Readers seeking more information can get what they want. And this adds more value to your book or paper.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!