The book that keeps on giving

Name a book that would entertain you for hours, give you discounts and ideas on where to go, what to do and where to eat in addition to giving you the opportunity to help a charity? Nothing comes to mind? Well, try the Entertainment Book!

What exactly is an Entertainment Book? It’s a book that is chock full of discount vouchers from a variety of establishments. Although most of the discounts were for dining in restaurants and orders from takeaway shops, it also features great savings on several attractions, activities, movies, theatre, video shops, travel accomodations, magazines, online shopping and some miscellaneous items like gardening and even dry cleaning services.

I’ve been contemplating on whether to get myself a copy of the Melbourne entertainment book since late July but didn’t really act on it till about a fortnight ago. I was planning a weekend in the future when we could go to the Dandenong Ranges, perhaps have a picnic, visit the small towns nearby and ride the Puffing Billy (hubby’s long-time request). The regular ticket for an adult from Belgrave to Emerald or Lakeside is $19 one way or $32.50 return. It’s quite pricey and I was racking my brains to cut costs when I remembered seeing an offer in the entertainment book. I searched through their website and found that the book offers a complimentary regular fare when another regular fare of equal or greater value is purchased. Now, depending on whether we get a one way or return ticket, that’s already 31% or 54% of the price of the entire book!

Of course the book won’t be of much value to us if we could only use one discount voucher so I browsed through their site. To my delight, I found several restaurants we regularly go to on their list and cinema offers that we surely use. Then there are the vouchers for other attractions we’ve been meaning to go to but haven’t had the chance yet like the Rialto, Melbourne Aquarium and Old Melbourne Gaol among others.

Having decided to finally get my copy, I googled to see where I get one. The book comes in several editions, concentrating on major cities/regions in Australia and New Zealand. I’m after the Greater Melbourne edition, which would set me back $60 plus postage. The Cancer Council of Victoria offers the lowest postage cost I could find at $6 (other institutions quote $7-$10 postage). It’s important to note that a portion of the price ($12, for the Melbourne edition) goes to the charity organisation selling it. Anyway, the council had an online shop and I placed an order for one.

A week passed but no book came. I went back to the cancer council’s site and submitted an online enquiry regarding my purchase. A lady working for the council replied back soon after, apologising for the delay because their servers went down and the order has not been processed. She then proceeded to ask for my details and promised to send the book later in the day. True to her word, the book arrived the next day. Now, when I saw photos of the book online, there was really no sense of scale and I imagined it would be the size of a paperback novel. I was a bit off the mark because although the book did look like a paperback, it was quite big and heavy (weighing in at 1 kg). No wonder they were quoting no less than $6 for the postage!

Aside from the book, a gold card was included with the package. Although paper vouchers could be torn from the book and presented for instant discounts for most establishments, the gold card should be used when eating at fine dining restaurants. The card number could be used to register in the entertainment book website, where members could read and submit reviews of the different activities, establishments and attractions included in the book. The members only section is also useful for keeping track of changes and updates to current offers and getting some bonus offers as well.

With a validity of up to June 2008, I still have plenty of time to get the most value from the book. So far we’ve already saved $28.95 by using the book’s vouchers and we even haven’t used the Puffing Billy voucher yet. I’m also being cautious of not overspending just for the sake of getting a discount. I’m not sure yet how much value we could get from this book but it’s certainly looking like it has been a good investment. I’m currently keeping a log of the vouchers we’ve used so far so perhaps I could do a review of the whole entertainment book come June. One thing is certain though, there would be some fun times ahead for us without having to break the bank!

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 12:10 am  Comments (1)