The Entertainment Book has been around for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, we could buy them through our school, and you could also sell them as a student to help with fundraising. It’s certainly a way to practice frugal living.
I remember going out to dinner with my parents and my mom bringing ripped out squares from our Entertainment Book for discounts on our dinner. Most of the restaurants in St. Louis, MO, had deals in the book, even the more high-end ones.
What is the Entertainment Book?
Hughes and Sheila Potiker founded Entertainment Publications in 1962. At first, it was a coupon book for local products in the Detroit area.
Since then, it has expanded into 150 markets and has been continuing to grow over the last 48 years. They now offer discounts at 60,000 different merchants and have several different ways you can use the offerings in the book, including online coupons and a membership card.
When you purchase an Entertainment Book, it will be customized to the offerings in your local city (and surrounding areas). Unless you use the app along with the book, then the app will update offerings based on your location.
How Much Does the Entertainment Book Cost?
There are different types of membership you can purchase.
First is the book membership, which costs $9 for the entertainment book itself and nothing more after that. Coupons are valid until the end of the year with every year’s new coupon book.
Then there is the digital membership, which is $2.99 per month or $19.99 per year (which is included in the book purchase).
What’s Comes in the Membership?
You can save up to 50% with things you do every day with both the book or digital membership.
The book membership is tailored to your local area, but with the digital membership, you get access to all U.S. and Canadian cities offerings, snagging savings wherever you go.
When purchasing the book, digital membership is automatically included. However, the book is not included with the digital membership, so your best bet is to buy the book and get everything included (including your membership card).
Categories of Savings Offered
The categories of savings you will see in the book haven’t changed much over the years and include:
- Attractions: This category includes anything and everything when it comes to amusement parks, museums, movie tickets, golf, bowling, ice skating, theatre productions, escape rooms, haunted houses, rock climbing, trampoline parks and more. You can even find some discounts for entirely free admission.
- Automotive care: Car care is expensive, so I love that they have this category available for discounts. You will find offerings for services such as oil changes, tire rotation, inspection, and anything you need to get done when it comes to car maintenance and repair.
- Groceries: Yes, the book even includes coupons for your grocery shopping trips. Use them at your favorite local grocery stores. If your favorite store isn’t in the book as one of their merchants, try using one from a competitor in the book, and the store might honor it. It doesn’t hurt to try – try that with any of these categories.
- Furniture: You can find coupons for dining room sets, living room sets, bedroom sets, and more.
- Restaurants and dining: From fast food to casual family dining to even fine dining, restaurants, and dining is one of the largest categories in the Entertainment Book. It was at least the only category I can remember my family using. In St. Louis, MO (my local area), the popular ones in the book are Pasta House, Panera, Imo’s, and more. Check your local book or app for the restaurants in your area.
- Services: This category includes salons, gym memberships, spas, eye care centers, and more.
- Shopping: For participating merchants, you will find coupons for stores in the mall, at your favorite outdoor plazas, stand-alone stores, and use the online app for shopping online. By shopping, they mean any sort of shopping, from makeup, beauty products, and clothes to shoes, athletic gear, home improvement, and more.
- Travel: Find discounts and deals for hotels, resorts, airfare, rental cars, attractions while traveling, and more.
My App Experience
Some of the deals listed in both the book and the app also include freebies. Be sure to read the terms on these deals. Then there are deals so good it is almost like a gift card.
I’ve never used the app before, so I wanted to see what was different in the app versus the book, so I downloaded it.
Categories of savings available in the app (accessed via the access code in your book or the digital membership):
- Dining: Just like in the book, you will find all of the same deals for your local restaurants and be able to access all of the offers across all of the U.S. and Canadian cities that the Entertainment Book is available in.
- Shopping services: Use the app to utilize the same deals from the book, plus online shopping (or use it at outlet malls while traveling to get access to savings that you don’t see in your local book too).
- Things to do: This category is the same at the attractions category in the book and includes offers at gyms, kid’s gyms, movie tickets, soccer parks, and more.
- Travel: Their travel tab in the app is impressive and similar to using a site like Expedia where you can plan trips and get deals on hotels, rental cars, flights, cruises, group travel, and more.
- Online offers: The online offers tab shows all of their online offers across all categories.
You can also use the search function in the app to search for an offer that is hard to find with scrolling the categories. When in the app, the offers will change based on your location besides the travel category.
Pros and Cons
As with any product, there are upsides and downsides. The Entertainment Book is a great deal considering how much you save over time for only spending $9 once. But it isn’t perfect.
The main pros of the Entertainment Book and app are:
- There are a wide variety of offers that can be accessed from any location with the app.
- The travel deals are great and far better than any site like Expedia.
- Because of the popularity of the book, if you use coupons of competitors at stores that aren’t in the book, you might still get them to discount it when showing them to the store.
- You can track savings in the app and the total amount you saved over time.
Let’s talk about the cons:
- Be sure to read specifics on the coupons and in the app. Not all merchant locations participate in the offer that is listed for their company in the book/app.
- The app often lags when loading.
- You can’t get the book included with the digital membership on the app. But you can get the app included with the purchase of the book.
Is the Entertainment Book Still Relevant Today?
It is kind of crazy to me that I am writing about a book that I’ve known about almost my whole life and my family religiously used when I was growing up. It hasn’t lost its relevance one bit since then either.
The one thing they didn’t have back when I was a kid was an app, and with the addition of that and their travel planning feature, I think the Entertainment Book and app are more useful than ever.
For only $9, it is worth it.
Give it a try and let us know how much you end up saving with it.
Want to become more frugal and thrifty: Let’s learn how to save money!
This article originally appeared on The Money Mix and has been republished with permission.
Did you use the Entertainment Book back in the day or even now? Let us know in the comments!