Prenzlauer Allee’s secondhand bookstore Die Geisterschmiede (literally “The Mind Smiths”) was one of my first discoveries in Berlin when I moved back to the city from Belgium in 2017. That summer, I was wandering around with Belgian artists Mathilde Denison, Noémie Sonveau and Sarah Bello Vega and found here a propaganda book from the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I would say it is kind of a must-see in East Berlin: books are piled up like Jenga and the corner of many philosophical classics published by Suhrkamp is just too “dangerous.” When the books fall, the shopkeeper always say in German “Oh, the classical fall!”
Prices might look slightly higher than in Kreuzberg for example. But, for those who read German, Die Geisterschmiede is good and practical, especially when one looks for philosophical classics, which are quite complete here. My biggest love is their beautiful collection of World and German regional fairy tales, the richest one in town, I would say. Beautiful children books in German are also to be found. Some English books are available, I personally also found an I-Ching in classical Chinese, or a German-Mongolian dictionary. The shopkeeper is a very kind German father, very well informed and always friendly to offer help or suggestions to those who are squeezing into this book labyrinth.