Frequently Asked Questions
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Our Cahoots Easy Editor for Windows and Cahoots Pizazz for macOS were licensed from third parties and once the agreement was terminated, we are no longer be able to process files from those applications. By extension, this means that all your .epb files will no longer be of any practical use. However, you may be able to cut and paste between old and new applications to most easily recreate your legacy book in our current software.
After January 2017, we no longer have the licensing or infrastructure in place to process submitted book files originating from our legacy software. If you may require exact reprints of any book previously printed by us, please get in touch as we may be able to provide you with a reprint from a backup of the associated print file. We can also provide an archive copy of this same print file (which could be professionally printed at any time in the future). A nominal fee applies for this service.
We can take your PDF and produce a beautiful hardcover book for you, provided your file meets certain requirements. Importantly, it must have the same dimensions as any of our book sizes. Please contact us to discuss the specifics as they relate to your project.
Regrettably, we must charge a small setup fee for our time to import your JPEG files into Cahoots software, or to setup your PDF file to process it in our workflow. If your files are compliant with our recommended specifications, your setup fee will be in the order of $20 for a 40 page book.
The functionality of Easy Designer is broadly equivalent across both platforms. However, the software is developed first on Windows, with feature parity on a few items remaining to be achieved. Therefore if you have a choice, the Windows version will contain all the latest features. But the macOS version may lack a few of the latest bells and whistles.
As of mid 2019, the developers are prioritising development of a 64bit version of the software for macOS, so full feature parity is still a little further down the track.
For a 40 page 30cm square Large Luxurious book, we would recommend between 80 and 120 photos. If you keep the number of pages fixed, the more photos you insert, the smaller the average size of the photos. You can of course have less than 40 pages, or add additional pages. Your choices may be guided by the quality of the photos themselves, and the importance of the book.
For books of smaller dimensions, your page real estate is less, so your photos will obviously be smaller, all other factors being equal. Similarly, if you choose an A3 Large Landscape, you can have the same number of photos but have them larger, or you may wish to make use of the additional space to accommodate more photos.
For photos and articles etc. that need to be in sharp focus, you will need to arrange for these to be scanned.
If you have access to a scanner (?via a friend, or work, or local library), we recommend that you configure the scanner for 600dpi (dots per inch). Many scanners are set up with a default of 300dpi which is a good default for scanning documents that don’t need scaling up. However, to give maximum flexibility for cropping and/or enlargement of your chosen images when you layout your photo book, a minimum 600 dpi is recommended for standard sized photos. Smaller photos may need a higher setting while large photos can be scanned with a lower dpi setting.
For (typically large) children’s artwork you may have some success in photographing such images. You should try to ensure that the lighting is as even and diffused as possible. It is worth trying to photograph these outside in the shade or on an overcast day, avoiding the uneven lighting of a flash. Pay particular attention to achieving a sharp focus, and avoid shallow depth or field, otherwise part of the drawing may be blurry.
If that all sounds too difficult, Cahoots offers scanning services to assist in the process of creating a photo book. See our scanning page for details.
Colourwise, our workflow is designed so that your printed photos will look very similar to how they look on a properly calibrated screen. For those who understand colour profiles, our software assumes sRGB colour space, as this is the default for most consumer digital cameras and smartphones.
In terms of resolution, typically your camera’s photos will have dimensions in 1000’s of pixels on each axis, and be close to 1 or more Megabytes in size. Don’t worry if that is too technical for you. Our software will flag any photos it considers to be “poor resolution” (red warning flag).
At Cahoots we frequently print with images having yellow “acceptable” resolution warnings, with no noticeable deficiency in the printed output. Images with “poor resolution” we try to avoid if at all possible. In extreme cases, these images may appear excessively blurred or pixelated. Frequently we encounter such images if they have been taken from Facebook or other online sources. These images have a resolution that is satisfactory for screen viewing, but have to be significantly smaller in print to look as good. In some cases clients have chosen to keep bad resolution images in their book. Even though they know the printed output may not be so good, the images represent important memories that need to be accommodated in the book.
If your photo is displaying a resolution warning you have three options to improve it. You can reduce the amount of cropping, and/or you can make the photo itself smaller on the page. Otherwise, you should try to re-scan at higher resolution, or try to obtain the original image file that may have a higher resolution that the file you are using. If you have received the image by sms text message, or email, it may have been automatically downsized prior to sending. You may wish to ask the sender to forward the image at “actual” or “original” size.
You can scan multiple photos in a single scan if you wish. The advantage is that you will save some time in the scanning process. If you scanner can recognise multiple photos and generate a files for each of them then there will be no issue from working more efficiently.
However, if your scanner will create a single file with multiple images, keep in mind that you will then need to crop each scan multiple times to match the size of the part of your scan that contains the photo you are placing in your book. This takes time, so the times saved in scanning may well be lost by the extra effort required to place each photo in the book.
Additionally, you will not be able to make use of the handy feature of Cahoots Easy Designer (on Windows, and soon on macOS) whereby Cahoots software can hide used images, as the software will not be able to track whether or not a single scan contains multiple photos. Thus, unless you have scanned items in the exact same order you need them placed in the photo book, you may lose some time keeping track of what photos remain to be placed, and risk leaving some out accidentally or placing some twice.
If at all possible, it is best to have one photo or item per file.
Our software allows you to choose between a default “leather look” cover or a “custom cover” (printed cover) upgrade. The latter is a cover consisting of any images and/or text that you design. (Call us if you are unsure about how to go about choosing this.)
Our leather look covers are available in black, white, navy blue, green, and red.
In addition to the above, we offer a number of premium fabrics suitable for special books. We have pearlescent cream buckram, a metallic gunmetal grey buckram, brown “Duo” linen, and turquoise “Duo” linen. Most fabric covers are a suitable for foil stamping or embossing. If you require this treatment, we can refer you to a suitable service provider. (Make sure you allow time for this additional service if your book has a deadline.)
Samples of all of these fabrics can be seen in our store in Subiaco.
At Cahoots we offer 3 distinct paper choices. Our standard paper is a 160gsm coated stock with a satin finish. On our A3 Large Landscape books we use a 190gsm version of the same paper. We also offer a premium warm white matt art paper of 148gsm which shows a fine texture in reflected light.
Our 216gsm layflat hinged paper also has a satin finish and is available across all our formats (sizes). However, please note that all layflat books have a maximum page count of 60.
Feel free to visit our Subiaco store where you can view sample books made with these papers.
The matt art papers are offered as a premium upgrade on a standard book. However, if you wish to create a layflat book, you must choose the LAYFLAT version of the product when starting your book design. (The reason for this is that layflat books have different page dimensions from non-layflat books.)
All our books have a minimum page count 16 (sides).
Due to differing paper thickness and size, there are maximum page (=”side”) limits as follows:
Small Fun 21cm sq.: 100 pages (standard paper)
Classic Landscape A4: 200 pages (standard paper)
Large Luxurious 30cm sq.: 200 pages (standard paper)
Large Landscape A3: 140 pages (standard paper)
All layflat books have a maximum of 60 pages.
While our software will permit the number of pages above, we recommend a maximum of 72 pages for best usability. (Alternatively, you may wish to consider separate volumes – especially if the 60page layflat maximum is an issue.)
Typically your order is initiated within Cahoots software via the “Order Project” button (top right of the workspace). This will trigger a validation report containing mostly warnings that will not prohibit you from proceeding if you understand any possible impacts.
During the next step, the software will render each page of your book, and in a second cycle will upload each individual page. If there is an interruption to this process, the software will generally pickup where it left off. Upon successful upload, you will be taken to the online checkout where you can pay by credit card or bank transfer.
Alternatively (especially for first timers) you can save your “.dtp” book file and bring it into the store for review. Keep in mind that submitting your book via the Cahoots computer may be problematic if we do not have the font(s) you have used in any text blocks.
Should you have continuing difficulties submitting your project via the software, notwithstanding the caution above, it is nevertheless possible to send your file to us using a third party service. Feel free to contact us if you have any difficulties with the ordering process.
Once your file has been uploaded, you will see a link at the base of the window which will take you to the checkout page on our website where you can complete and pay for your order. Payment is normally required before your book is queued for our weekly production process. Once your order has been successfully pre-processed, you will promptly receive an automated order confirmation email (check your junk/spam folder). In the rare event where you do not receive such an email, it is likely your file was not successfully received. In this case, please repeat the process, or contact us if you experience continuing difficulties.
As long as we have not printed your book, we can cancel your order, after which you can submit your updated file. Please contact us promptly and quote the order number if you wish to cancel a specific order.
Depending upon your level of concern, we can print a couple of pages for review, prior to printing the entire book file.
Or alternatively, it may be possible for you to visit our printing service provider where pages can be previewed on calibrated monitors.
Lastly, we can provide a complete set of loose pages for review prior to binding. In this case, if there is a need to reprint the book pages, there will be a charge for the initial set of now discarded proof prints.
We strongly advise against cropping images externally, as Cahoots Easy Designer has the facility to do a “virtual crop”. This means there is added flexibility to tesselate multiple images into a set of defined placeholder shapes, since in some cases, cropped images will not fit optimally into the relevant placeholder.
If adjusting colours, brightness, and contrast, do keep in mind that every monitor will show colours differently (unless properly calibrated to the output device). Also, as monitors are backlit, images will appear more vibrant than when printed on paper. We therefore advise caution when undertaking such work until you get a feel for the effect on the printed page in your photobook.
Our current production process works on a weekly cycle, beginning on a Monday morning. (Note that the shop is closed on Mondays!)
We advise to allow two cycles in order for your book to be completed, so that any QC or scheduling issues can be accommodated. Books are normally available in the store for collection on a Saturday, and if you opted to collect your book, we will contact you once your book is ready. (Otherwise we will simply despatch the book if you elected to have it posted. Please allow for delivery time on top of the above production timeframes, if working to a deadline.)
If you require your book to have a short turn-around, we can usually arrange to have the book completed in a single production cycle. However, if your book is especially thick or requires special finishing, a one week turnaround may not be possible. Depending upon the exact circumstances of your order, a Rush Job Fee may be applicable. Please contact us to discuss if it is feasible for us to meet your deadline.
The above timeframes are for book production. If you engage Cahoots to design your book (Do It For Me), the time taken to finalise the book layout is normally between 3 and 5 business days, depending upon our workload. Thus, if opt for our Do It For Me service, you should ideally allow 1 week for book design in addition to the production times outlined above.
While we normally advise allowing 2 weekly production cycles for completion (see above), upon request we can provide a rush job service, subject to certain limitations. Typically, average sized books submitted on a Monday can be completed in a single weekly production run, and be ready for collection on the following Friday, if pre-arranged. Please do contact us to confirm we can meet your specific deadline, and to ascertain if a rush job fee will apply.
A rush job surcharge of $50 will apply if a “Let Me Do It” book is submitted on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or is required on a Thursday afternoon for pickup. A surcharge will also apply when there is less than 3 Cahoots business days available for the designing and approval of a “Do It For Me” book. (This generally means we should receive material before Thursday, for completion of the physical book by the Friday of the following week.) There may be other scenarios where a Rush Job Fee applies. Please contact us to discuss your desired timeframe and to ascertain any applicable “Rush Job” fee.
We try to keep the Rush Job Fee as low as possible, while keeping necessary efficiencies in our production. Therefore the Rush Job Fee covers additional expenses such as call-off labour, overtime, printer contractor setup fees for late books, and additional transport of book components in order to meet shortened delivery timeframes.
VIP Club members earn points at the rate of 5 points per dollar spent on photobooks. From time to time, we may offer enhanced earning rates. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter to be notified of such opportunities.
VIP points last for 18 months from the time they are created. This timeframe ensures they can be used, even if you only do one photobook per year.
You can contact us to check your VIP account points balance. As long as you are logged in when you submit your book order, you will see how many points you have available by referring to the notice displayed on the checkout pages. (If tyou are not logged in, you will see a notice to this effect, and a link to click which will display the login panel.)
VIP points can be redeemed at the rate of 100 points for each $1 of credit towards your future photobook, up to a maximum of 50% of your order value. From time to time, we may offer enhanced conversion rates. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter to be notified of such opportunities.
If you are logged in when at the checkout screen, you will be offered the opportunity to use your points balance to reduce your order price. (If you are not logged in, look for the login link in the notice concerning returning customers.)
In the event you have difficulties with the automated process of earning and using VIP points, simply submit your book and select “Bank Transfer” as the payment method. Send us an email afterwards requesting a credit for your VIP points balance. We will then adjust the price of your order and send you an invoice by email, that you can pay online.
You should collect your set of image/audio pairs and submit them to us. (Contact us for the best way to do this). Your image and audio files should be named the same – so it is clear they are paired with each other. We will also need to provide you a QR code that will need to be printed in, or attached to, your photobook.
Due to the technical limitations of the app, the audio files must be .mp3
In case you have a different format, it is easily converted to .mp3 with appropriate utilities.
Our layflat paper is 216gsm coated stock with a satin finish. The paper has a plastic “hinge” that alows the paper to freely lie flat. This not only provides great visibility to details that are otherwise lost in the gutter of the book, but there is no wrestling with the pages to keep them fully open. Because of this, a thicker stock is able to be used, adding to the quality feel of the book. The layflat uprade is worth considering for those special books.
Since layflat photobooks do not lose content in the gutter, they can really make an impact when an image is displayed across the binding seam. We have some great examples in the Subiaco store for you to view, if you are able to drop by. If your book will be 60 pages or less, choosing a layflat book will allow enjoyment of 100% of every beautiful page, without wrestling with your book to keep the pages open. Layflat books are now available across all our popular formats: 21cm Small Fun, A4 Classic Landscape, 30cm Large Luxurious and our A3 Large Landscape. Learn more about our books
To order your layflat book, choose the appropriate layflat option in the Easy Designer product selector when you start your project. It is important to select the “LAYFLAT” version of the relevant format, as the page size in a layflat book is different from a standard book. To determine the cost difference between a standard book and a layflat equivalent, refer to the “Let Me Do It” pricing tables, or use our book cost calculator.
Please note that layflat books currently have a maximum of 60 pages across all formats. (Beyond this amount, they become too thick for the binding equipment to handle.) We hope to increase this limit to 80 pages in the future.
When displaying images across the binding, there are some important watchpoints to be aware of. As our hinged layflat books are traditionally bound, each left and right page is a separate piece of paper. Due to slight variations in printing registration front and back, and also small tolerances in trimming the pages, there can be a mm or two variation in the vertical or horizontal positioning of each left and right page. Therefore it is strongly advised not to put important and/or high contrast/linear elements in the centre of the spread. Similarly, it is best not to place text across the binding, unless you are certain that the seam will fall between letters. As a general rule it is best to keep the focus of the image/spread to the left or right of the hinge area.