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King of the discount books

How and why to use “entertainment books”
/ Source: Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel

Though more than five million are sold each year, scarcely a copy appears in bookstores, and use of the so-called Entertainment Books is thus confined to those relatively few savvy Americans who purchase them from nonprofit clubs, service groups, schools and other civic organizations.

Yet each book entitles the bearer to near-50% discounts at restaurants, sporting events, movies, live theaters, and other recreational facilities, even at scattered hotels in that person’s home city—or in the 160 other major U.S. cities for which Entertainment Books are published.

Bulky as dictionaries, the books consist of perforated discount coupons offering “two-for-one” dining or admissions, or straight 50% reductions, at scores of establishments. Some 200 books are published each year, covering more than 160 American and Canadian cities and regions. There are also 13 books for Europe.

Of course, the discount doesn’t always work out to 50%. When two of you order a $15 and $11 entree, respectively, at a listed restaurant, it is the cheaper entree (the $ 11 one) that comes free; and drinks and dessert aren’t included in the “two-for-one” offer. As for the hotel discounts, a major portion of them are valid for lightly booked weekend stays only. Yet though the dining discount works out to 30% on average, and some of the weekend hotel discounts are of dubious value, the savings overall are substantial indeed. Five million families wouldn’t budge from their homes without their Entertainment Books.

Individual-city books cost $25 to $45 apiece, depending on the city, and often pay for themselves in one or two days of travel or use. Almost all are sold in bulk to nonprofit organizations that then quietly resell them to members in fundraising programs. But since Entertainment Publications, Inc. (a publicly owned company founded in 1962), has offices in most of the largest cities, they can usually be contacted directly by the public (and books purchased) by simply looking up the words “Entertainment Publications” or “Entertainment Passbooks” in your local phone directory. Or you can go directly to the headquarters of Entertainment Publications, Inc., 2125 Butterfield Rd., Troy, Ml 48084 (phone 800/374-4464,