Boston Book Company: About Us

705 Centre Street, 2nd floor
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130


617-522-9359 fax

Hours: By appt. only


Our business was started in the late 70s by two women who opened a general old book shop with an emphasis on literature. Soon they had moved into general rare books as well. Charles joined his partner Helen Kelly at Boston Book Company in 1979 and became a principal, bringing his interest and specialization in Japan and East Asia. Within the last decade, books, albums and ephemera from this area have become our main emphasis. Charles spends about half his time in Japan and otherwise on the road, with a base in Kyoto.  We are proud to have one of the finest inventories of its kind in the world. 

Boston Book Company  is located at 705 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, a district of Boston, Massachusetts. In business since 1979, we are about to celebrate our 40th year selling books in Boston. The shop is located on the second floor of a 19th Century brick building in the downtown area of this Boston neighborhood.

The PRINCIPALS, Helen Kelly and Charles Vilnis, are longtime members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. They also belong to the Southern New England Antiquarian Booksellers Association. Recognized as an expert, particularly in the field of Japanese printing, Charles Vilnis has been called upon many times by colleagues, collectors and institutions for research and related projects. They and the BBC staff wish to welcome you to our bookshop. 

OUR STOCK includes one of the largest and finest inventories of books relating to Japan and East Asia in the country. In addition we have a varied and sophisticated general antiquarian stock in western languages .  We buy and sell books in all categories.

HOURS: We are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Saturday and by appointment.

Through the years, we have issued numerous catalogues of general antiquarian and literary materials, as well as material relating to Japan and East Asia. Members of the firm travel extensively in America and Asia, to buy libraries and to attend bookfairs and auctions.

JAMAICA PLAIN, besides being the home of the Boston Book Company, is also an interesting tourist destination in its own right. The famed Arnold Arboretum is there, as is Jamaica Pond (where sailboats may be rented in summer). And Franklin Park, the jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted's Emerald  Necklace and its Zoo are nearby. There are many restaurants and architectural gems of the 19th Century in the neighborhood.



For DIRECTIONS and MAPS to find the store, please follow the link to the appropriate page by clicking here:

Boston Book Company, 705 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130


Boston Book Company by Bus: Take the #39 bus toward Forest Hills. The bus stops at Centre Street at our front door which is next to “Carrot Flower”.


Boston Book Company by Subway: Take the Orange Line train toward Forest Hills. Exit at either the Green Street Station or Forest Hills Station. If you get off at Green Street turn left on exiting the station onto Green Street and walk three blocks to the intersection of Green and Centre Street. Cross Centre Street to the Post Office and turn left. Walk one block to the corner of Centre Street and Burroughs Street. The entrance is next to Carrot Flower.

If you take the train through to Forest Hills Station you may take the 39 bus back up Centre Street, getting off at the corner of Centre and Seaverns Street which is one block from our shop.



BOOKS ALWAYS WANTED: We are ALWAYS interested in purchasing collections, or single volumes. Call us at (617)522-2100 or toll free at 1 ()800 653- 7767 , or email us at