Before Groupon, before Blackboard Eats, before Restaurant.com— hell, before the whole internet— there was Entertainment Book. For $10 or $15 you’d buy one from a passing high school kid raising money for his debate team, and find yourself in possession of a fat booklet full of hundreds of dollars’ worth of coupons for local businesses, from restaurants to carpet cleaners. The model was great for fundraising— unlike, say, chocolates, the coupons didn’t cost anybody anything until you were actually in the restaurant spending money— though anyone who’s ever owned one knows that at most you redeem a tiny fraction of the coupons, and most of them seemed to be for places you’d never heard of in funny parts of town.
Not surprisingly, when the internet came along offering better targeted ways to get deals for places you actually had heard of, Entertainment Promotions (the company’s name) seemed old-fashionedly inconvenient and paper-based by comparison. The Troy, Michigan-based company, founded in 1962, was acquired by an investment firm funded by the family behind the Menards hardware chain in 2008, and is apparently being liquidated in Chapter 7 bankruptcy along with other failed investments owned by the firm. In theory that shouldn’t affect redemption of still-extant coupons by the individual businesses involved— but who knows? [Detroit News]