Do you ever stop mid-sentence to ask yourself, “Should I italicize or quote book titles?”
It’s a fair question, and it deserves a thoughtful answer. Since you want to be a good writer, you need to know these things, and wondering, “Are books italicized?” means you are paying attention to the important details of your craft.
You might also have the following questions:
- “Should I italicize this article title or use quotation marks?”
- “Are books underlined or italicized – or does it matter which one I use?”
- “Should I put this song in italics if it’s a hit single with its own album?”
Hence this article. When it comes to any rule for writing, we’re huge fans of keeping it simple and easy to remember.
Strictly speaking, the question of whether to italicize or use quotation marks is a matter of style; the rules governing the usage of both can change.
But for some time — roughly since computers took the place of typewriters for word processing — writers have used italics (rather than underlines or quotes) to set off the titles of what the MLA (Modern Language Association) style guide calls “containers.”
Each container is a larger work made up of smaller components.
So, do you italicize book titles? The short answer is yes. The longer answer — the one with more nuance and some research — is just up ahead.
(Sidebar: If you’d like to learn our strategies for writing a bestselling book, then I suggest checking out our free checklist, which is the exact 46-point guide we’ve used to sell one million copies of our books.)
Rule of Thumb for Writing Book Titles