Do I Italicize Book Names?

If you’re wondering whether or not to italicize book names in your writing, you’re not alone. It’s a common question, and the answer isn’t always simple. Here’s a quick guide to help you make the right choice.

Checkout this video:

Deciding when to italicize

Italics are most commonly used for titles of larger works like books, movies, and magazines. When deciding whether to italicize a book title or not, you should consider its format. For instance, short story titles should be put in quotation marks, while chapter titles in a book should be italicized. Other examples of when to italicize include plays, works of art, TV shows, long poems, and movies.

What about other types of books?

What about other types of books?

The titles of certain types of books are usually not italicized. These include:

• Bible
• Catalogs
• Dictionaries
• Encyclopedias
• Journals
• Magazines
• Newspapers

Other ways to show emphasis

There are many ways to show emphasis in writing, and italics are just one option. In fact, in some cases, italics may not be the best choice. For example, if you’re writing for a digital format like a website or email, italics can be difficult to read. In these cases, other options such as bolding or underlining may be more effective.

Here are some general guidelines for using italics:

-Italics can be used for titles of books, movies, television shows, and other works.
-Italics can be used for emphasis in short works such as articles or essays.
-Italics should not be used for lengthy passages of text.
-Italics can be used forforeign words and phrases that are not common in English.

Titles within titles

When you’re writing a paper or article and you need to include the title of another work, how you format that depends on two things: how long the title is and whether it stands alone (as a self-contained work) or it’s part of a larger work.

If the title is short (less than four typed lines), just incorporate it into the text. For example:
The book The Catcher in the Rye caused quite a stir when it was published in 1951.

However, if the title is long (more than four typed lines), set it off from your text by italicizing it. Remember to include the name of the author and the date of publication:
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is one of those rare novels that still resonates with readers today.

When in doubt, ask

If you’re not sure whether or not to italicize a book name, ask yourself if the work appears as an anthology or a standalone publication. If the answer is yes, then you should italicize the name. An anthology is a collection of works, and a standalone publication is just that — a book that stands on its own.

More on book titles

Italics are used for large works, names of vehicles, and movie and television show titles. Quotation marks are used for sections of works, like the titles of chapters, magazine articles, poems, and songs.

More on punctuation

More on punctuation: In addition to books, movies, and TV shows, we also italicize the names of other works of art. These include paintings, sculptures, drawings, mixed media, and anything else you can think of. We also italicize the names of boats, ships, and aircraft.

More on writing

Italics are used for large works, names of vehicles, and movie and television show titles. When a work that is normally italicized appears in a quotation or title of another work, it should be in roman type. A book should be in italics:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

A website should be in italics:

An article should be in quotation marks:
“Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can’t, Teach”

Italics (or underlining) can be used for titles of:
– Books
– Newspapers
– Magazines
– Movies
– Television programs
– Plays
– Paintings – Ships and airplanes

Other resources

Here are some other resources that might be helpful:
-The Purdue OWL: Titles of Works
-The Chicago Manual of Style: Titles of Works


If you are unsure about whether to italicize a book title or not, a good rule of thumb is to consult your style guide. For example, both the MLA and APA style guides indicate that book titles should be italicized. If you are still unsure, you can always ask your professor or editor for clarification.

Scroll to Top