Q: Where are you located?
A: We run our business from Auckland, New Zealand. All of our product is shipped from Asia to over 35 countries around the world. We subsidize the shipping expense on all of our books and albums, which are sent via DHL Express courier.
Q: What's the difference between MILK Books and PQ Albums?
A: MILK Books is our consumer-facing brand which offers premium print-on-demand products to the consumer market at regular retail prices (RRP). The MILK Books Premium range (the same as offered through PQ Albums), and the "Classic range" (printed in 4 colors), are available via MILK Books, along with a selection of frames, canvas and print products.
In comparison, PQ Albums sells premium photo books and albums to registered professionals only, and is priced around 25% cheaper than the same product offered via MILK Books. PQ Albums doesn't offer the Classic range or any frames, canvas, or print products. The MILK Books Premium range (archival, printed in 6-colors), is the only range available to professionals ordering via PQ Albums at trade prices.
Q: What are your estimated turnaround times?
Estimated production time for all albums & large photo books: 14–21 days.
Estimated production time for medium photo books: 7–12 days.
Estimated delivery time: 3–5 working days.
Q: How do I design my books using your design studio?
A: Our design studio is a free online album design software available to all PQ Albums registered users. You can access this by selecting a format from the catalog and clicking "Start creating".
Select from our range of pre-made templates for best results. The free-transform tool, allows for modification of these layouts and text spreads are available for projects that are heavy on text.
We recommend using Google Chrome for best results. Firefox and Safari are also compatible with our design studio, however Microsoft Edge is not compatible, and using this will result in reduced functionality.
You will require a moderate to strong internet connection to create using our design studio, and as it functions via the internet, you will need to close down each editing session by clicking "SAVE" and "EXIT" to avoid the internet session timing out.
Q: Can I upload custom spreads into the design studio?
A: Yes, absolutely! Our system allows you to upload your spreads as full bleed pages, bearing in mind that the first and last pages will be single pages. The document below provides the specifications and dimensions (in millimeters), to format your spreads correctly. Every format on our website is covered.
Q: Are your books available in any third party album builder software?
A: You can find us under the list of pre-set lab company options in both Fundy Designer and SmartAlbums software programs. Use SmartAlbums or Fundy to create offline and then upload your custom spreads into our design studio quickly and easily, using pre-loaded export settings. Note that the first and last pages of our books can be exported as single pages, with the remaining internals exported as spreads.
Click here to learn more about creating via our third party album solution partners.
Q: How can I add a presentation box and/or cover and spine text?
A: When designing/laying out your album in our design studio select ‘add ons’ on the left-hand panel. This will give you the option to add a presentation box or cover and spine text to your photo book or album.
If you'd like to order a presentation box for an order that has already been fulfilled, or that is currently in production, please email us quoting your order number and attach the image you'd like printed on the cover label (if applicable). We will provide you with information on how to order and make payment for your boxe(s) from there.
Q: Can I create a custom design for my cover?
A: This option is not available via our design studio, however if this is something you require please contact us and we will advise on your options and provide pricing.
Q: Do you offer embossed or debossed cover text?
A: This option is not available via our design studio, however if this is something you require please contact us we will advise on your options and provide pricing.
Q: How do I use the free-transform tool to modify the templates in the design studio?
A: Use the free-transform mode to to modify the placement, size and position of your images in our templates.
The free-transform icon appears as an arrowhead inside an expandable cube to the bottom-left of the default work mode in the design studio.
You may use this tool to place images where you like on the page with the exception of overlapping images, which is not an option with this tool.
A 'safe zone' is marked out with a dotted line. Keep critical data such as people's faces within the safe zone to avoid undesirable cropping. There are also orange guide lines that enable you to 'snap' to the safe zone, page edge and center-line/gutter.
In free-transform mode the 'bleed area' (or area that will be trimmed during production), is automatically allocated and highlighted in pink-red so you can see which areas will be trimmed off during production.
Note that the free-transform tool doesn't incorporate "smart guides" to help you to position images at even distances from each other, to achieve consistent spacing and exact alignment. Therefore, your eye is the only guide in positioning the image frames on the page. If accuracy in spacing is important to you, we would recommend using Adobe InDesign (or similar program), to create your custom spreads, rather than the free-transform tool.
Positioning your images using the arrow keys on your keyboard may help with accuracy, as each time an arrow key is pushed down it will move the highlighted image frame 1 pixel in that direction.
Q: Can I order print proofs?
A: Yes, we can arrange for print proofs and test proofs of UV-printing to be produced and sent to a nominated shipping address for a small fee. The total cost will depend on the number/type of proofs requested and includes the cost for shipping to your door via tracked courier. If this is something you require please contact us for more info on this process.
File management FAQ:
Q: What color profiles do you support?
A: Our RGB workflow supports wide-gamut profiles including Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB, as well as the standard sRGB. Images should be uploaded with the profile embedded. If using Fundy Designer or SmartAlbums the default is set to sRGB, however you can change this to suit your workflow as above.
Q: What resolution should my images be?
A: We recommend aiming for a resolution of 300dpi at the final size. Our software will alert you if this drops below 150dpi as this is the min resolution we're willing to print. Please note that the low-res alert function will only work correctly when uploading individual images into our pre-made templates.
Q: How can I best manage black & white image files?
A: Black & white images require more careful monitoring. If your book contains many black & white images, please notify us ideally before you place your order, or immediately after placing your order, quoting your order number.
Q: Do you edit or enhance my files in any way?
A: No, we do not adjust or enhance your images in any way prior to printing. It is therefore important that any dark areas are sufficiently lightened before printing and that your images are enhanced as desired prior to uploading them into our design studio. If you have concerns with regards to out-of-gamut colors, you can check this using Fogra39 as the CMYK profile.
Print process FAQ:
Q: What is your print process?
A: Our photo books and albums are printed on HP Indigo digital presses in six colors. The six color printing process gives smoother tone transition and more saturated colors compared to standard four color printing. The liquid-ink digital printing technology we employ (HP electroink) enables fantastic color and print quality, with consistent results, similar to and at times surpassing conventional offset printing and exceeding the quality achieved by competing digital printing technologies.
Q: How do you convert from RGB to CMYK for printing?
A: To achieve a print result that’s as close as possible to your original images we use an innovative wide-gamut RGB workflow. This makes use of the HP Indigo’s entire color gamut rather than simulating the results of a conventional CMYK offset process. The result is more vivid, saturated colors and smoother skin tones and gradients.
Q: What is the difference between a photo book and a photo album?
A: Our photo albums range from 24-46 pages and the paper is mounted onto board giving an overall page thickness of approximately 1 mm. The pages are bound using a lay-flat, flush-mounted binding technique.
Our photo books range from 24-160 pages, and the pages are bound using the section-sewn binding technique. This is an extremely robust, traditional method of book-binding. It is important to note that with this binding technique the pages lie relatively flat, but not perfectly flat as per the method used for the albums.
Q: Does your product have branding?
A: Yes, our product comes with “Pure Quality Albums” written on the back inside cover of the albums/books. If you require completely de-branded product please contact us and we can remove this manually at no cost.
Q: What does UV-Printed text look like?
A: Our UV-printed cover and spine text is digitally printed and set using ultra-violet lights. The text sits on top of the fabric making it comparable in appearance to a slight emboss, but instead of being produced by a stamp the text is printed onto the fabric surface.
We offer a range of designer cover-text templates in multiple shades, depending on the cover fabric chosen.
Q: Where do I find more info on your papers?
A: The papers used are archival grade (meaning they resist ageing if stored in the right conditions). We order our papers from various reputable industry suppliers and each are selected for their quality, FSC certification, suitability to digital printing and compatibility with our product spec.
A complimentary swatch book is available to all customers upon request, to help with paper selection.
Read our care guide for proper care and storage of your photo book or album.
Q: Where do I find more info on your fabrics?
A: The materials selected for our books and albums are archival grade (meaning they resist aging if stored in the right conditions). Our fabrics are tested for longevity and suitability to UV-printing and other cover treatments (such as foiling and emboss/deboss), before being added to our range.
Read our care guide for proper care and storage of your photo book or album.
Q: How is the high gloss finish for albums created?
A: The high gloss option is produced by coating our most popular E-Photo Lustre paper with a high gloss laminate that closely resembles a glossy photographic print, adding authenticity and an extra touch of nostalgia to your clients' keepsakes. This paper is lab-tested archival and should last 100+ years if stored in ideal conditions.
Q: Is there an extra cost for the high gloss finish?
A: Yes, there is an extra cost. Cost is 32c per page for medium albums and 45c per page for large albums.
Q: How do you define a 'page'?
A: A page is a single side. Therefore two pages = one spread.
Q: Can my customers see your pricing?
A: No, we require all professionals to register and be verified by our team, before we provide login details to view our pricing information.
Q: Do you have a downloadable price list?
A: Yes, we have a quick reference pricing table you can download here.
Q: I want to order a bulk number of books. Do you offer quotes for large quantities of books?
A: If you are looking at ordering a large number of books altogether to be shipped to a single address, please email us and we'll offer a competitive quote for pricing and will also quote you on shipping. Please be sure to include in your email the number of units, format, size, cover fabric and paper choice (if known), and any further additions to your books such as UV-printed text, presentation boxes and or custom elements.
Q: How can I calculate the cost of my album/book?
A: The base price is the cost of the book/album which includes 24 pages and is exclusive of shipping. The additional page cost refers to a singular page/workable side. Within an album, pages must be added in twos. Within a photo book, pages must be added in fours. Leather covers and presentation boxes can be added at the prices specified on the pricing page.
Q: What is a pre-purchase and how does it work?
A: Pre-purchasing an album or photo book allows you to buy our product at a discounted price. Upon completing the pre-purchase form, you are sent a voucher code that you can apply to the project within a six-month time frame. To redeem the pre-purchased offer, simply apply the voucher into the designated field on the payment page (during checkout), before the six-month expiry. Note that you must be subscribed to our mailing list to receive information on new pre-purchase offers.
Q: How can I redeem my discount code?
A: Discount codes and pre-purchased codes can be redeemed at the checkout*. You will have this option after entering your shipping details, on the same page where you enter your credit information.
*Note that only one code can be applied to any single transaction. You cannot apply more than one discount code in conjunction.
Q: Why are the large square photo books priced differently to the portrait and landscape orientations?
A: Due to the square shape, more wastage is created in production when cutting out the pages for the large square photo books when compared with the two other large photo books (portrait and landscape). This is why the large square photo books are priced slightly higher.
Getting started FAQ:
Q: How do I order a PQ Albums swatch kit and what's included?
A: If you would like to receive a complimentary swatch kit of our fabrics and paper/printing options, email us with your name, address and phone number and we'll arrange to send one out to you. Once the swatch order is confirmed via email, you should expect to receive your swatch kit within 3-5 working days.
Q: I require a product catalog to send to clients via email. Is this available?
Q: How do I order a sample album?
A: We offer studio samples at 25% off trade prices to help you to get a ready-made product in your hands to show to your clients. Use code FIRSTPQ at checkout to order your sample. The sample or first order discount is limited to one photo album and one photo book format. If you have specific sampling needs, please email us to inquire about pricing. Note that our samples are not marked "sample" or the like and do not differ in any regard from our regular product.
Q: How do I share a link to preview books with clients?
A: There is an arrow visible on the top-left of any books in progress or printed projects from your "MY ALBUMS" page. Flipbooks for printed projects can be found under "MY FLIPBOOKS". Simply click on the share arrow above the book you'd like to share and then click "Copy link". The link opens a digital flipbook version of your book, which can then be copied into an email, opened in a new tab, or shared via posts in Facebook or Twitter social media platforms.
Q: I would love to collaborate with PQ Albums. How do I do this?
A: We love collaborating with our talented and creative clients. To inquire about collaborating with us, or to register your interest in collaborating with us, email us and we'll be in touch to discuss details.