Home Blog How to write a book title in an essay?

Mastering the citation skill is crucial for any academic writing. Also, another dilemma the writer faces when writing an essay is how to write a title for the essay.  Therefore, in this blog, we will discuss the dos and don'ts of incorporating the book's title, explore various citation styles, and provide practical tips to ensure that the essays are well-written and properly referenced so that you are navigating through APA. MLA, or Chicago style, the blog will help you by providing clear guidelines and examples to assist you in confidently incorporating the book into essays to make it a masterpiece.


How to incorporate book titles into essays 

Incorporating book titles into an essay can be tricky especially when there are various types of styles such as APA, MLA, and Chicago. However no need to worry, we have covered all these things with examples and tips on “how to quote a book title in the essay”. 

MLA Style Guide

In MLA style, book titles are italicized both in the text and the Works Cited list. For instance, “Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a powerful novel about the lasting impact of slavery”.

APA Style Guide

The APA style is provided by the American Psychological Association, the titles of the books both in the text and reference list. 

For instance: “In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield grapples with the transition from adolescence to adulthood”.

Chicago Manual

In Chicago Style, the titles of the books are written in Italian in both the body of the essay and the reference list. For instance: “Michael Pollan explores the origins of our food in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals”.

How to format book Citation

No matter what the style guide prescribes, there are some common rules that they need to keep in their mind. The titles of the books should be italicized and underlined. Titles of the essays, stories, and poems should be placed in quotation marks. Refer to the text present in a story, essay, novel, poem, or memoir as depends on what it is.

Capitalization rules 

Use capital letters for writing the title of the book 

For instance, “The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.”

Quotation Marks

Titles of the stories, poems, and essays, should be placed in the “Quotation marks”. This is important as it helps in differentiating them from large works such as novels or non-fictional works. 

Writing different types of Titles in the essay

As we covered the basics, it is important to dive into specifics for different types you may face.

Journals Articles

If the book title is part of a larger work, such as a journal article, it should be underlined in place of italicized. 

Short stories

Titles belonging to small stories should be placed with quotation marks. For instance, “The Lottery” by “Shirley Jackson”.

Chapter Titles

When referencing the titles of the chapters it should be enclosed in quotation marks. For instance, “The Boy Who Lived” from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. 

Article Titles

The titles of the article those written in English-Language and newspapers or magazines, should be mentioned in quotation marks. For instance, “Why We Crave Horror Movies” by Stephen King.

Newspaper Titles

The name of the newspapers should be Italicized like “The New York Times” or “The Wall Street Journal’. 

Book Series

When referencing a book series as a whole it is important to italicize the anime of the series. On the other hand, individual books in the series should be italicized. For instance, the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling includes different titles such as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

Focusing on book titles in essay

Sometimes it is important to pay extra attention to the title of the book. The following steps will help in doing it. 

Time to Italicize

As a common rule Italicize the lings works such as books, movies, television shows, edited collections, albums, or documents. 

Time for using quotation marks

Tiles of shorter works such as articles, poems, songs, chapters, TV episodes, and any other types of shorter works should be kept in quotation marks. 

Expectation to rules

Like any other rule, some expectations are also present in these rules. Some of the writing styles require the Italics to be underlined. Whereas others may require quotation marks around the title, and underlining or italicizing the name of the magazine or newspapers in which it appears. 

However, in case of any confusion, it is advisable to check with the publication or instructors for which you are writing. 

Punctuation and capitalizing Book Titles

Making use of capitalization and punctuation is considered very important when using book titles in the essay. Using wrong punctuation marks can hamper the overall quality of the writing.

Use of Quotation marks

In case the title of the book ends with a question mark or an exclamation point, place it in Italics. 

For instance, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.

Capitalization rules

Generally, it is the rule to capitalize the first word and all the other major words such as verbs, nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, and also some conjunctions.

However, it is important not to capitalize the prepositions, articles, or conjunctions, unless they are the first or the last word.

However, some rules also suggest capitalizing the prepositions made of five letters or more. 

Title case

Capitalization of the title case is the most common form of capitalization and is found in all four major capitalization styles such as APA, MLA, AP, and Chicago. Capitalize the first word in the tile along with the last word and all the major words present in between.

Proper nouns

Capitalizing the proper nouns is very important such as the names of the places, people organizations, and other any type of proper noun present in the turtle of the book. 

For instance:  “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling”

Examples include book titles in the essay.

Let's look at some examples that showcase how to write book titles in the essay.

Classic Literature

When referencing any kind of classic literature word, Italicize the title of the book in the text of your work. In the Works Cited entry, provide the full name of the author, the title of the book in Italics, the name of the publisher along the publication year.

For instance, “Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Penguin Classics, 2002.”

Contemporary literature

In the case of contemporary titles, follow the same text format as used in the essay. In the cited entry provide the name of the author, the title of the book in Italics, the name and year of the publisher, and the medium of publication such as web, print, etc. 

For instance, Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 2016. Print.

Non-fiction work 

When citing the non-fiction work, use the same format as the fiction work. Utilize the title of the book in the essay, and the works cited list. Provide the name of the author of the book, title of the book in italics, year, name, and medium of publisher. 

For instance,  Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. Anchor Books, 1997. Print.


How to write the title of the book in the essay?

If it is present in the center, capitalize the first word of the noun and proper nouns. It is the central point in the essay italicize it. 

Are the book titles placed in quotes or italicized?

Generally, the titles of the books should be italicized. Quotes are generally used for shorter works like articles or poems. 

How to write a book title in a handwritten essay?

In case the essay is handwritten, underline the titles of the book, in place of italics to highlight them in the essay.


So the blog provides clear information regarding the different ways to write the title of the book in an essay. By following the rules of APA, AP, MLA, and Chicago style it will become very easy to format the book titles correctly every time. It is important to remember to be consistent and pay attention to the details every time you format a book title in the essay. Therefore, whenever you underline, italicize, or use quotation marks, it is important to follow the rules consistently in the essay. 

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