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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  832 ratings  ·  202 reviews
Ripped from today’s headlines, Bookhunter fires off and you can’t quit reading. The excitement is fulfilling. The year is 1973. A priceless book has been stolen from the Oakland Public Library. A crack team of Bookhunters (aka. library police) have less than three days to recover the stolen item. It’s a race against the clock as our heroes use every tool in their arsenal o ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Sparkplug Books
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  832 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Bay Area bibliophiles
Shelves: books
Kudos for carrying this ridiculous concept all the way through and investing a clearly significant amount of effort in learning all sorts of technical details about bookbinding, 1970s phone systems, etc.

Additionally fun for me because of the local setting.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it

Another small press comic read. Many times there is a good reason one of the large publishers isn't carrying a work. But other times you get something really fun and niche like Bookhunter.

Bookhunter is about Library Police in a world where they hunt down stolen books like Seal Team 6 hunts down terrorists. This is quick, fun, absurd, and super nerdy, with a ton of technical mess about book binding and such.

I'd describe it more to convince you to go read it, but it's free online at h
Michelle F
Oh my god this was ridiculous! Pointless! Surprisingly technical! Amazing!!

No big descriptors here. There are library police. A book theft. It’s drawn brilliantly in a library. Only two books were menaced. And there is a phenomenal chase scene involving a card catalog that it is now my life goal to physically recreate.

It is readable here
Go read it!
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
If you like libraries, you will LOVE this book. If you like libraries of the pre-Internet era (card catalog, circulation stamps, etc), you will LOVE this book EVEN more.

The premise is that the Oakland Public Library employs a special police force (equipped with a SWAT team, guns, forensic experts, and so much more) to enforce library violations, such as overdue books, damaging library materials, etc. The team, led by special agent Ray, is called into investigate the theft of a precious incunabu
Stacy Fetters
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sneaky-librarian
I love libraries and I even work in one. This was just too boring for my tastes.
It kept me busy while I was reading it, but when it was over... it was over. Nothing really stood out and i wasn't thoroughly entertained.
It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode with the Library Police. An overdue book and they come hunting you down!!

Just please return your books!
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Absurdly technical, and also simply absurd. I think the card catalog fight scene at the end was my favorite part.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Because it's based in the Oakland Public Library. Lots of great inside librarian jokes in it. Super cute book.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you like the idea of librarians as heroes, but want something a bit grittier than The Librarians tv show, this is the book for you. I'm definitely adding it to my "potential gifts for librarian friends" list. The only downside is how short the book was--I want more!
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books I'm thinking: How in peace name did I mange to get my hands on this?? It is a strange concept where the normal murder noir setting is now one of a book robbery and a hardened policeman trying to find it back. I like it though. The comic medium seems made to execute these kind of original strange concepts very well.

Ultimately though I think the story would have benefitted from more words and explanation to show us as readers what's going on.
Tom Malinowski
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I forgot how I stumbled upon this gem and so glad I did. Oakland Public Library, 1973. A rare book has been stolen and it's up to Officer Bay of the Library Police to solve the case. Filled with library and archival tech & jargon to make me squeal with enjoyment. Witty and oh so enjoyable! ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, comics, crime, humour
I honestly was not quite sure what I expected of this comic, but the fact is that Jason Shiga blew me away. Bookhunter is a piece of crime fiction, in a sense, but set in a world not quite exactly like ours, in which the Library Police track down people who attempt to censor books, or steal them. After a short, but very effective opening, which introduces the world and the function of the Library Police, along with the protagonist, Special Agent Bay, the narrative proper begins. Here Special Age ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A comic for bibliophiles or librarians!. Agent Bay is the Chief of the library police and he hunts down stolen books. Set in the 1970s the book opens with our hero in action. Then the rest of the book contains the main story involving the theft of an 1800s Bible on display in the Oakland Public Library. Bay is the type of officer who chases his suspects across the roofs of buildings and swings by cables when necessary. It was a fun little story that I enjoyed bur it is aimed at those with knowle ...more
One of those rare and wonderful offspring of the digital revolution, Bookhunter is available online (free! at and is worth the load-time and slow scrolling.
Noir mystery with a sepia tone, Shiga writes out this hardboiled detective story about a rare book stolen from the Oakland Public Library (yes!) in 1973. Classic in tone, you half expect Bogey or Valient to wander into the frame and contribute a few choice lines.
Sufficiently twisty and turny, there are enough characters and
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
An enjoyable and fun read, but so laden with jargon that I just had to ignore words and push through sometimes. I'm not talking complex scientific jargon (I consider myself a pretty scientific guy), I'm talking about phrases that actually left me wondering whether Shiga just made up some phrases to achieve an effect. Also, some parts of the story made me wonder if I was missing pages, because there seemed to me to be large leaps in logic. But maybe I was missing something.
All that aside, it was
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
If you are a library geek, especially a tech services one, this graphic novel is for you. I truly enjoyed it. Mainly because I like the idea of the library having a police force. Serving and protecting the collection from censorship and theft. Some of the technological things went over my head. I really think that you need to have worked behind the scenes in a library to relate or be geeky enough to do your research about it. All in all, I got to reminisce about the old card catalog and laugh my ...more
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, 2007reads
It's a 1970s action movie, using real library lingo--correctly! It might not be historically accurate (tattle tape, magnetic security gates, early computers storing records--were these things around in 1973? I sure wasn't, so I have no clue.), but it is a lot of fun.
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Best library cop comic ever? Read it at the author's site:
Daniel Burton-Rose
This is so good! The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" video in the Oakland Public Library, with some Umberto Ecoish bibliophile mystery thrown in for good measure.
Meghan Fidler
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
A little delightful afternoon snack for any bibliophile. The attention to terminology, technology, and historically accurate binding techniques is exquisite.
Joanna Taylor Stone
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Really fun and quick. A must read for librarians, especially. Makes me want to work for the Library Police...
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5

From the whacked-out mind that brought us the Demon graphic novel series, comes a rip-roaring mystery-thriller graphic novel set in ... a library? Yup, a library!

It is 1973 and the Oakland Public Library has its own police force known as Bookhunters. They'e tough, seasoned, and a bit grizzled but gosh darn if they aren't good at their job. The library has a priceless book that they've borrowed from another library and now
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
A really fun comic book. Shiga has never let me down yet. The alternate universe in this book is very nicely realized. Not your usual fantasy or sci-fi send up, but merely an alternate world where books are treated very, very seriously. The action deserves special mention. The way Shiga frames and draws action sequences really sucks you in. It's like watching a competently directed action film where you can understand what is going on (i.e. before the more modern cut-cut-cut style of directing). ...more
The Paperback Princess (Moni)
Shiga clearly researched the behind-the-scene library necessities for checkouts in the early 70's, as well as the intricacies behind book binding and cataloging. Unfortunately, some of those processes were a little too obscure to both explain and illustrate in a few pages, let alone a few frames. Some aspects of the story were slightly confusing for this reason, although it didn't detract much from the actual story. I was grateful that Shiga kept the pacing and excitement up throughout the entir ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who love books and absurdity, and can stand some graphic violence
If you want short and absurd, both funny and dark, there is Bookhunter, a noir detective story of the Library Police. If you're not familiar with them, we joke with kids about the Library Police coming to arrest you if you don't return the books you borrow. Well, the brilliant Jason Shiga imagines what the Library Police would really be like, and it's not pretty. ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I didn't even finish this book because I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. The sort of art style that this book has is not my style. I'm not a fan of it at all, but I thought the title was interesting and was intrigued where this book would be heading. I read about 30 pages and decided nope, I'm putting this book down because I didn't want to waste my time reading it. I love books, libraries, and I work in a library too, but this book just wasn't for me. There are other better books out t ...more
Eric Cone
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
This ame highly recommended. I appreciate the work that Jason Shiga put into this book. But, it just wasn't for me. I thought it was going to be a satire or at least some kind of in-joke. I don't know, maybe it was so "in" that I didn't get it.
I felt like it was pretty obvious what was going on from very early in the book. I kept waiting for the big twist or joke, but it worked out very much like you think that it will.
Also, I am not into this graphic style. If this same story had been told with
Tamara Evans
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fast read for library lovers which tells the story of a priceless book stolen from the Oakland Public Library in 1973 and the library police who is tasked with bringing the book thief to justice.

I love the book design including the due date sketched on the first page of the books which instantly transports the reading into the world of the author. This book is entertaining in the story which is told as well as the twist at the end of the book.
Even though I'm studying to become a librarian, library humor doesn't appeal to me. I had trouble getting through Rex Libris and don't get me started on the TV show The Librarians. This book had a lot to do with older library systems and book preservation. I think I'm looking for something different with my library-centered entertainment.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Part film-noir, part library sciences, "Bookhunter" is what happens when book theft is taken seriously. As a librarian, I could only wish that this is how we treated our string of disappearing books. Full of action and behind-the-scenes knowledge, "Bookhunter" is a graphic novel for librarians, teachers, and a word of warning to all readers.
Brilliant! A library police procedural, as it were. If I weren't married to a librarian and hadn't spent 15 years working in telecommunications, I wouldn't appreciate half of this. Love the realistic details on the investigation, not to mention the considerable action and intrigue. The artwork does a great job of setting the appropriate tone and attitude.
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Jason Shiga is an award-winning Asian American cartoonist from Oakland, California. Mr. Shiga's comics are known for their intricate, often "interactive" plots and occasionally random, unexpected violence. A mathematics major from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Shiga shares his love of logic and problem solving with his readers through puzzles, mysteries and unconventional narrative ...more

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