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The effect of Brexit on a £12.99 paperback: an example of protectionism

This Twitter thread by @HenninghamPress that breaks down the complexities of Brexit and its impact on their business, giving a really concrete example of protectionism. Given its accessible language and story format, this thread could be really useful for teaching trade barriers and costs of production.

The Twitter thread, which revolves around the trials and tribulations faced by a British paperback book publisher post-Brexit, provides clear, real-world insights into how leaving the single market has influenced cost, time, and business decisions. Splitting it into a tweet per slide would work really well, but I've also uploaded a pdf of the thread at the bottom of the page which could be set used as a wider reading assignment.

Here are some possible questions/activities:

Comprehension Questions:

  1. What material does Henningham Family Press primarily use for their products and where was it usually sourced from?

  2. How did the time taken for their main material to arrive change post-Brexit?

  3. According to Henningham Family Press, what was the primary reason for the increase in paper prices post-Brexit?

  4. How did Brexit affect the cost and process of shipping books for Henningham Family Press to the EU?

  5. What was the solution Henningham Family Press found to manage VAT charges on packages shipped to the EU?

  6. How did Brexit affect the choice of paper available for their paperbacks?

Vocabulary Questions:

  1. What does the term "single market" mean in the context of Brexit and this Twitter thread?

  2. What is meant by the "tyranny of choice" in this context?

  3. In this thread, "IOSS" is mentioned as a solution to manage tax collection on packages. What does IOSS stand for and what is its purpose?

  4. The term "offshoring" is mentioned in the context of e-commerce. Can you explain what this means?

  5. What does the term "stockpile" mean in the context of paper supplies for the press?

  6. What is meant by the phrase "ground-rent for trucks parked on the motorway"?

  7. Explain the term "customs charges" in the context of the thread.


  1. List all of the ways that Brexit makes the supply chain more complicated and costly

  2. Categorise these in some way

  3. Henningham Press is just one firm. Explain the possible impacts on the wider economy if other firms are affected in some way

  4. Research Estonian E-citizenship

  5. What are the possible impacts on the UK economy if more businesses followed Henningham Family Press' lead and considered offshoring or changing their business operations due to Brexit?

Download PDF • 3.09MB


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