17 Essential Online Tabletop RPG Software and Tools | MakeUseOf

Whether you’re a veteran or just starting to explore the world of tabletop RPGs, the best RPG software and apps can improve your experience and enjoyment.

These role-playing tools can help across every stage of your campaign. Whether it’s character creation, systems, or world-building, there’s plenty of ways to improve your immersion.

In this article, we cover the best online tabletop RPG software along with the apps and tools you can use anywhere. These resources range from simple to advanced, so there’s something for every kind of player. If you prefer, you can jump ahead to a specific section:

When trying to immerse yourself in another world, sound matters just as much as visuals. To keep your sessions flowing, you want these ready for each crucial story event and battle. With these audio RPG tools, you'll always set the mood and boost your game's realism.

Syrinscape is a series of cross-platform apps for gamemasters (GMs) who want to add believable, immersive sound to their games. Each Syrinscape player comes with its own unique themed skin with custom backgrounds and buttons tied to each SoundSet. Besides the custom graphics, Syrinscape lets sound be as automatic or complex as you want it to be.

Pressing the large buttons on the left will automatically play an arrangement of music and sound together. While this occurs, you can activate your sounds via any of the available buttons. You can also create custom arrangements if you don't like the presets under your SoundSet.

By default, you can only play a small assortment of SoundSets without making an account. To access more, you'll have to purchase them directly from the store or sign up for a subscription.

You can pay $10.99/month (charged bi-monthly) for a subscription that provides access to all the sci-fi, fantasy, board game packages along with ownership of all future SoundSets for Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. Subscribers will also get access to Syrinscape Online and SoundSet Creator. There's also a $7.15/month tier if you only want a specific set of fantasy or sci-fi sounds.

Download: Syrinscape Fantasy Player for Windows | macOS | Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)Download: Syrinscape Sci-Fi Player for Windows | macOS | Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)Download: Syrinscape BoardGame Player for Windows | macOS | Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

Tabletop Audio functions similarly to Syrinscape, but it's completely free and doesn't require registration nor installation.

Syrinscape's biggest strength comes from integrating everything. Meanwhile, Tabletop Audio lets you access their sounds in a variety of ways. For instance, you can create a queue for its web player with an assortment of ambiances and music.

On the other hand, you can just as easily download the titles and make your own. The most impressive part of TableTop Audio, however, comes from its SoundPad. SoundPad lets you choose a themed sound collection then play with an assortment to your heart's content.

Sounds play together at the same time seamlessly. You can also choose to repeat sounds continuously or at a timed delay (depending on the sound). Plus, you can save your custom sound arrangements or broadcast them to other players via a link.

Visit: Tabletop Audio

Whether a seasoned veteran or a complete newbie, creating a character can mean hours of deliberation over strengths, weaknesses, and those all-important stats. You need to keep track of what you've learned, your level, and all of the other pertinent information the game world throws at you.

By using these online RPG tools and apps, you can keep track digitally and avoid the headaches.

HeroLab is a digital assistant for the RPG enthusiast who is serious about characters. The software helps you calculate relevant bonuses, penalties, and modifiers depending on your chosen game. The character creation system walks you through required fields and attributes with an interface that adapts to your class.

You can then attach portraits, add backstory, and provide the GM with all your information digitally using the Tactical Console.

HeroLab is available at different price points depending on whether you go for HeroLab Online or HeroLab Classic. However, the free iPad app offers a superior interface and user-friendly way option for fans of Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. You can also use any of your characters from the Mac or PC version with the iOS version.

Download: HeroLab Classic for Windows and macOS (Free demo, licenses available)Download: HeroLab for iOS (Free)

PCGen is a cross-platform RPG character generator for Windows, Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD. It uses Java to achieve this, so make sure you install Java 11 or newer if you want to use it. It's currently compatible with popular titles such as Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e, Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, d20 Modern, Starfinder, Pathfinder, and many more.

Worried about filling out your first character sheet? For players, it handles all the complicated calculations involved. Plus, PCGen makes it even easier by creating a running to-do list for your character sheet.

By clicking on any list item, you'll automatically jump to the appropriate input box or see it highlighted. It's a great resource to navigate first-timers while also offering intricate customization. Plus, your list automatically updates after you complete each input.

For GMs, the included GMGen offers a variety of features utilizing your new sheets. You can create encounters, assign experience, generate names, and take notes all while integrating your character data.

Download: PCGen for Windows

If you're looking for something a little more mobile, Fight Club 5th Edition is a free mobile app that will help you go paperless with your character sheets and handbooks. The app caters specifically to Dungeons and Dragons 5E.

Via the rather snazzy interface, you can keep track of your numbers, and keep abreast of your characters' defenses, abilities, skills, and more. The app also tracks equipped items like armor and weapons, and functions as a handy dice roller for common checks, incoming damage, and attacks.

The free app allows you to create and maintain only one character. Fight Club requires an in-app purchase of $2.99 to upgrade to the full version that unlocks more character slots and removes advertising.

Download: Fight Club for iOS | Android (Free, premium version available)

Like Fight Club, Fifth Edition Character Sheet is a mobile app to take your Dungeons and Dragons 5E habit into the paperless age.

The app offers a customizable five-page character sheet that allows you to create, save, and revise multiple characters for multiple campaigns. Calculate ability modifiers, skill bonuses; track attacks, incoming damage and health buffs; and perform calculations for multiple weapons and skill proficiencies in battle.

Fifth Edition is also customizable and allows you to hide things you don't need and reorder things in a way that makes the most sense to you. To remove ads, there's a small one-time fee.

Download: Fifth Edition for Android | iOS (Free, Premium Available)

Beyond Tabletop offers a completely online character sheet generator. Currently, Beyond Tabletop focuses on generating Dungeons and Dragons 5E and Pathfinder sheets. However, it also offers an in-development RPG sheet meant to work across all systems.

Since it's entirely web-based, managing multiple sheets isn't a problem at all. With any of the sheets, you can copy, edit, share, or delete characters as needed. Plus, your character sheets can also link up with the site's campaigns and battlemaps.

Visit: Beyond Tabletop

With character mechanics out of the way, you're free to bring your character to life. Best of all, no art supplies required.

HeroMachine 2.5 (above) is the simplest to use while containing a huge number of customizations including clothing, headgear, wings, tails, and even different backgrounds. Everything has an assignable color and the art style isn't dissimilar to what you'd find on a trading card or in a fantasy novel.

HeroMachine 3 (above) takes things to the next level, offering an almost-fiddly level of detail to play with. The art style is of a higher quality, and you can apply multiple attributes (two necklaces, rather than one-per-category as with HM2).

Each of the visual items that make up your design can also undergo transformations. The ability to create layers opens the door to a multitude of additional customizations. In addition, you can also move, rotate, and scale all visual elements.

HeroMachine 3 also offers three views. HeroMachine 3 starts with the same normal view as HeroMachine 2.5. However, its alternative views help you hammer out smaller details.

Use the headshot view for close-up facial detailing. The widescreen view lets you declutter your screen to focus on what details you've laid out. The ability to toggle a grid also makes it easier to discern edits as you add-on items.

Regardless of which version you prefer, HeroMachine offers a premium version of both. Not only does it remove ads for under a dollar a month, but it also grants access to a larger layout for better detail work.

There's also a desktop version of HeroMachine 2 available ad-free for $9.95.

Visit: HeroMachine (Free, Premium Available)

Fuse is something a little bit different. It's a 3D character creator available through Steam for Mac and Windows users that comes with over 70 body parts, 150 clothing meshes, and 42 dynamic textures. Plus, there's auto-rigging and animations that valid Adobe customers can activate in-app.

It's been around for a while, but it's difficult to pass up free modeling.

Download: Fuse for Steam (Free)

Doll makers work as avatar creators made in Adobe Flash. Simply create your character, fine-tune the look, and then grab a screenshot for use in your campaign. There are doll makers for virtually any setting with many styles of art to pick from.

Visit: Azalea's Dolls | Doll Divine | RinmaruGames | Charat

Once everything is in place, you want your games to go fluidly. Rather than track and calculate everything by hand, take advantage of these tabletop tools to help run and manage your campaign.

From the creators of HeroLab comes Realm Works, a campaign management tool designed specifically for GMs looking to leverage software to improve their roleplaying experience. It serves as a digital aid to help GMs keep track of their campaigns, plots, locations, and the tiniest of details. However, it's also a tool for players who are in turn drip-fed information by the GM as the story unfolds in-game.

Realm Works includes access to the Realm Work Content Market, which provides pre-created content from publishers and enthusiasts alike. Pluck locations, NPCs, dungeons, and more straight out of the cloud and integrate them into your game with a few clicks. You can then use the software to individually reveal various aspects of your world---from partially obscured maps, to portraits, relationships, and so on.

For those struggling with preparation, Realm Works helps there too. It can take hours to assemble the various relevant materials, character sheets, and manage your story. Realm Works makes this far easier by automatically generating summaries for you.

Realm Works is currently only available for Windows. The full GM edition costs $59.99 and comes with six months of access to Realm Works servers (with the option to continue for roughly six- or 12-month periods). Cloud services enable you to keep your campaigns in sync and push information to each of your players, among other things. Standard players can purchase the Player Edition (also Windows-only) for $4.99/user.

Download: Realm Works for Windows ($59.99)

From the same developer that brought you Fight Club (above) comes Game Master 5th Edition, which does exactly what it says on the tin. The app provides a set of tools that makes it easier to manage a Dungeons and Dragons 5E game from start to finish.

Game Master serves as an excellent pocket resource for GMs that enjoy combat. Set some parameters for your enemy, roll, and there's a monster ready to fight. Besides managing encounters, you can check rules, calculate dice rolls, and take a long rest to heal up your characters.

It's a free download, but you'll need to pay $2.99 for encounters that involve more than six combatants.

Download: Game Master 5th Edition for iOS | Android (Free, premium version available)

For Android users, Fifth Edition DM Tools helps to simplify the task of running a Dungeons and Dragons 5E campaign. Create encounters and monsters, build dungeons, track players and their associated statistics, and manage the loot they'll encounter along the way. There's a sophisticated set of calculators for experience, challenge ratings, as well as a dice rolls for monster attacks, damage, saves, and skill checks.

If you pay for the premium upgrade, you'll get access to unlimited storage and the ability to manage multiple campaigns.

Download: Fifth Edition DM Tools for Android (Free, premium version available)

A physics sandbox and VR experience rolled into one, Tabletop Simulator lets you create your own games and play them however you want. Besides tabletop wargaming, you can play classics like chess, chequers, and jigsaw puzzles solo, locally, or online with friends.

The base game costs $19.99 and runs on Windows, Mac, and SteamOS with support for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in VR. Once you've got the base game, you can purchase individual tabletop experiences anywhere from $4.99 to $14.99.

The real magic lies in Tabletop Simulator's ability to let you create your own games, use custom assets, write your own scripts, manipulate the physics, and enjoy the experience your own way. You can even flip the table over and send everything flying if things aren't going your way!

Steam Workshop is also full of pre-built custom assets like the complete Warhammer 40K collection.

Download: Tabletop Simulator for Steam ($19.99)

Another Lone Wolf product, Army Builder supports tabletop miniature games like Warhammer 40K, Lord of the Rings, Warmachine, and many more. The software is available for both Windows and macOS, with a free roster viewer app also available on iOS devices.

The software's design adds "point and click simplicity" to the at-times complex task of creating army lists. The software checks the roster you have chosen against the rules for your particular game, eliminating mistakes, and removing the need for you to constantly check the rulebook yourself.

There are no calculations for you to manually perform as the software does the sums for you, leaving plenty of time to experiment with different rosters and tactics.

When you're ready you can print out a quick reference sheet for you to consult during gameplay, or use the free iOS app instead. You can buy Army Builder for $39.99, which provides access to all supported games (no need to buy separate licenses for separate game systems).

If you want to build even more for your campaign, explore the best 3D printables for tabletop fantasy RPGs.

Download: Army Builder ($39.99)Download: Army Builder Roster Viewer for iOS (Free)Visit: AB40k (Up-to-date Warhammer 40K files)

A free, fast, and powerful army list creator for many tabletop games. The app validates your army selections against point limits. So you'll know if your roster is legal or not, without having to do the sums yourself.

While free, the app requires a subscription of $2.99/year to remove the advertising. However, you'll also unlock additional features such as saving units as favorites. You'll need to pay this fee for every platform on which you want to use BattleScribe, so choose wisely.

Download: BattleScribe for Windows| macOS | Linux | Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

While purists will argue there's nothing like the feel of a perfectly-weighted dice, others prefer the simplicity of an app. The d20 Calculator allows players to roll any type of dice and work out complex calculations in a few taps.

If the app doesn't feel like enough, roll in style with this DIY electronic D20 die.

Download: d20 Calculator for iOS | Android (Free)

When it comes to tabletop gaming, there are so many moving parts to consider. Whether you're looking for general RPG software or the best Dungeons and Dragons tools, this list will make that quest easier. Just focus on one part at a time, and your games will never be easier.

When you're ready for more, look into these ways to play board games online with friends.


Buying a Vinyl Record Player? 7 Things You Must Know | MakeUseOf

The vinyl resurgence is showing no sign of slowing. What was once seen as a passing fad looks like it's here to stay.

If you're ready to start collecting vinyl, you'll need to buy a record player (also called a "turntable"). But where do you begin? The choice is seemingly endless.

Here's what you need to know about buying a vinyl record player.

A record player is a complex device. But the idea behind it is both simple and ingenious, resulting in its important place in the history of music.

A vinyl record contains a tiny groove that runs from the outer edge to the center of the disc. The groove is imprinted with a series of ridges you can't see with the human eye.

Put them under a microscope and they look like this:

Vinyl Ridges GIF

When you place the turntable's needle onto the record, the record starts to spin and the needle begins traveling along the groove. As it moves, the ridges cause the needle to vibrate, and these vibrations are turned into sound waves. The waves, in turn, get amplified and become music.

Using a record player is simple:

  1. Pick up your vinyl record by the edges to keep grease and dust off the surface---these can affect sound quality.
  2. Gently place the record onto the turntable by lining up the hole in the disc with the spindle in the center of the platter.
  3. Choose the appropriate speed for your record. More on that below.
  4. Carefully lift the tonearm---the lever-shaped object to the right, which houses the needle---and place it onto the outer edge of the record. Don't scratch the needle across the record. In most cases, the music will start playing automatically.
  5. When you're done, carefully lift the needle from the record. Remove the record and place it back in its sleeve.

There are three different types of record player, and the process can differ depending on whether you choose a manual, automatic, or semi-automatic machine.

This refers to the method used to place the needle on, and remove it from, the record. On an automatic system, it happens at the push of a button. With manual systems, you need to lift the arm and place it on the record yourself. On a semi-automatic table, you place the needle manually but it lifts off on its own.

Most mid to high-end turntables are manual. It's not really a big deal either way---if you don't have a steady hand, you could end up scratching the record, but you'll likely pick up the technique quickly. It isn't all that difficult.

There are three different types of vinyl record. They rotate on the turntable at different speeds, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Record players have a speed switch that you need to manually change according to the type of record you're using.

  • A seven-inch record plays at 45 RPM. This normally fits around five minutes of music on each side and is used for singles.
  • A 12-inch record plays at 33 RPM. This typically stores up to 22 minutes of music on each side. Nearly every album you see in a store will be a 12-inch record.
  • The third and rarer size of record is the 10-inch disc. These are most commonly older records that play at 78 RPM.

Two Vinyl Records

Every turntable can play 33 and 45 RPM records. Only those classified as "three speed" support 78 RPM. These old records have wider grooves, so you may need to replace your stylus to play them. But unless you're planning to collect records pressed before the mid-1950s, you don't need to worry about 78 RPM.

Because record players are analog systems, you're not guaranteed the same precision that you'd expect from a digital device.

Just because a player is set to 33 RPM doesn't mean the record will revolve at exactly 33 RPM. Many factors can affect the speed. Some players may run slightly slower, and some may even be slower when the needle is on the outer edge of the record and speed up as it gets closer to the center.

You can get apps to test the performance of your turntable. Try RPM Calculator for Android or RPM - Turntable Speed Accuracy for iOS. Both apps are free.

4. The Best Position for a Record Player

Once you've bought your record player, it's important to make sure you put it in the right place. It sounds obvious, but there's more to it than just clearing a spot on a shelf.

Turntables produce sound through vibration, so they will also turn external vibrations into sound. This is usually in the form of a hum. Excessive vibration can even cause the needle to jump and skip.

Place the turntable on a sturdy surface away from any potential interference. If you still have problems, you can pick up an isolation system or a specially designed turntable shelf that dampens vibration.

turntable shelf

Vibrations can also be self-imposed, often through the use of lightweight components. For this reason, you'll want to consider how upgradeable a turntable is before you buy it.

5. How Upgradeable Are Record Player Parts?

How upgradeable a system is generally depends on its price bracket. Entry-level systems are ready to go right out of the box, while you're expected to expand higher-end models with additional components.

record player upgrades

That being said, there are always a few parts that you can change, though some are easier than others.

  • Platter: The spinning plate that the record sits on. A heavier platter is better because it reduces vibration. Additional dampening is possible with a platter mat.
  • Tonearm: The part that swings across the record, enabling the needle to make contact with the disc. The quality of the tonearm can have a big impact on the accuracy and consistency with which the record rotates.
  • Stylus: Also called the needle, the stylus is the easiest part to upgrade and the most worthwhile. The stylus is responsible for the accuracy and detail of sound reproduction and you should replace it every 1,000 hours or so.

That's not all. You can upgrade nearly every other component on a record player for a newer, better model.

A popular (and very easy) upgrade is to add isolation feet underneath the base of the turntable. These will serve to reduce vibration and can be as cheap as a few dollars.

Most budget turntables are retro-styled players in plastic casing with their own built-in speakers. It's everything you need to give vinyl a try, or to give your parents' old record collection a listen.

But if you're looking for the warmer, richer sound that vinyl fans eulogize, you'll need to spend more. Pushing your budget up to the next level will give you noticeable improvements. But this is also where it gets complicated.

As you move up to the mid range and beyond, the price grows exponentially. Most mid-range turntables don't have a speaker built-in, so you'll need to supply your own. You might also need to supply your own phono preamp since most players aren't powerful enough to drive the speakers without one.

Suddenly, you're budgeting for a whole lot more than just a record player. And when you get to the high end, you virtually have to configure the whole machine yourself to get the best out of it.

In short, you get what you pay for. It's a good idea to pay beyond the bare minimum, but it's definitely easy to end up spending more than you wanted to, so be careful.

For the best beginner record player we'd recommend the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB. It's a well-specced, fully automatic, three-speed player with built in pre-amp and USB port. Thus, the LP120 enjoys great reviews. It's affordable enough to get started with, but you shouldn't outgrow it as you become more immersed in your hobby.

[amazon id="B07N3S4X3P" title="Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB"]

If you've got more money to spend, take a look at brands like Rega, Pro-Ject, and Clearaudio. (These will take you more toward the mid-range and may give you an even better return on your investment.)

And remember to go through our list of the best record players for all budgets. Just remember that the higher in price you go, the more you'll need to budget for the extras too.

Finally, look at whether you want a fully analog player with a completely separate digital music collection, or if you want a turntable with a built-in USB port that you can use to digitize your vinyl collection. With a USB port, you can record the playback to MP3 in real time, crackles and all.

Most new vinyl records come with a card containing a code to download an MP3 version of the album. Amazon's AutoRip feature automatically gives you an MP3 version of records you buy. You can also digitize your vinyl albums manually.

Now is the perfect time to get into vinyl. Most new albums are released in the format, and you can pick up classics at rock-bottom prices at your local record store or on eBay. We bet you'll find plenty of reasons to love vinyl.

A record player will give you better sound quality than you'll get from any digital format, especially if you pair it with a great speaker system of quality headphones. Some players even support Bluetooth now, too.

Take a look at our guide to the best noise-canceling headphones for audiophiles to find out which to buy.


The 6 Best Ebook Subscription Services, Compared | MakeUseOf

Internet subscription services are the future. They offer unlimited streaming of media for a flat monthly rate, offering some of the best entertainment value around. But what about an internet subscription for literature?

Ebook subscription services have been around for a while now, and if you're an avid reader, if you don't use one, you're missing out. These are the best ebook subscription services that will satisfy your need to read.

Some scoff at the idea of paying a monthly fee to read books. Sure, if you aren't a big book reader to begin with, then you probably won't benefit much from subbing to an ebook subscription service.

Before you decide on an online book subscription, the three most important questions to ask yourself are:

  1. How many books do you read per month?
  2. Which genres do you prefer to read?
  3. Which ebook devices do you have available?

If you rarely read, you probably can't justify the monthly fees. If you read in obscure genres, you may not find anything interesting. And depending on which devices you have or where you live, you may not even be able to use some of these services.

Regardless, you should always check your local public library first. Most libraries offer free ebook rentals, which is best for one-off readers. Obscure genre readers and readers who prefer new releases are often better off buying ebooks as and when they want them.

But for those who fall somewhere in the middle, ebook subscriptions can be extremely worthwhile. Here are the best ebook subscription services that are worth checking out...

Scribd was originally launched as a service for publishing academic papers. It exploded in popularity in 2009, when Scribd first inked a deal to sell ebooks. Since then, Scribd has been one of the best places to purchase user-submitted papers and retail books.

In 2013, Scribd launched its subscription service which granted users access to Scribd's entire library for a monthly fee. The best part is, you get access to magazines, newspapers, and audiobooks in addition to Scribd's massive collection of books.

  • Price: $10/month for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Over 1 million ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines
  • Books Per Month: Unlimited
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Nook devices
  • Regions: Worldwide, though some ebooks are unavailable in some regions

2. Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited eBook Subscriptions

Kindle Unlimited offers the largest selection of ebooks for a moderate price, but also comes with free unlimited audiobooks with Audible narration. You can seamlessly swap between reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks. Better yet, it also lets you browse the latest issues of popular magazines.

Unfortunately, the "Big Five" publishing houses (Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster) have all declined to participate. This is one of the reasons why some people think Kindle Unlimited isn't worth the money, as you may not be able to find some of the ebooks you want to read.

  • Price: $10/month for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Over 1 million ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines
  • Platforms: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire
  • Regions: Available in most major countries

3. Bookmate

Bookmate eBook Subscriptions

Bookmate is a mobile reading app with an accompanying ebook-reading subscription. Since its launch in 2010, Bookmate has seen tremendous success in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). So much so that it has expanded to Scandinavia, Singapore, Indonesia, and parts of Latin America.

Two unique aspects of Bookmate include its social element (follow friends to see their feeds and bookshelves) and the fact that you can upload your own EPUBs and FB2 ebooks and sync them across all of your devices.

  • Price: $10/month for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: No
  • Selection: Over 1.8 million ebooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Windows Store
  • Regions: N/A

4. 24symbols

24symbols eBook Subscription Service

24symbols is the only service on this list that offers a discounted rate for a one-year-at-a-time subscription, essentially making it the cheapest option by a significant amount. If you're looking for value, you'll find it here.

In addition to having an expansive collection of fiction and nonfiction books, it also offers comics and graphic novels. Upon signing up to the site, you'll also get access to 24symbols' active community of readers.

  • Price: $9/month or $90/year for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: No
  • Selection: Over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry
  • Regions: N/A

5. Kobo Plus

Kobo Plus Ebook Subscription Service

It would be awesome if all Kobo owners could take advantage of this ebook subscription service, but Kobo Plus is only available in a select few countries. At the time of writing, Kobo Plus is only available in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Despite the regional limitations, the service has seen resounding success, so if you live in either country, it may be the best option for you.

  • Price: $10/mo for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Hundreds of thousands ebooks and audiobooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kobo devices
  • Regions: Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands

6. ComiXology Unlimited

Comixology Ebook Subscription Service

If comics are more your thing, there's an unlimited ebook subscription for that too. ComiXology was purchased by Amazon in 2014, and has since grown exponentially.

With ComiXology Unlimited, you'll get access to thousands of comics from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, and many more. But if you're more of a Marvel fanatic, then you might want to read our article pitting ComiXology vs. Marvel Unlimited.

  • Price: $6/month for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Over 25,000 digital comics
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire
  • Regions: The United States

As far as plans go, Scribd is the best option overall. It's an affordable service with a wide selection of ebooks. Plus, it isn't boycotted by the "Big Five" publishers, and it's available worldwide with partial restrictions for some regions.

Bookmate and Kindle Unlimited are also solid ebook subscription services if you don't like Scribd. They're both priced the same, and while Kindle Unlimited has the larger selection, it's only available in some countries. 24symbols is a strong runner-up to Bookmate.

And while Kobo Plus shows promise, its regional restriction makes it all but useless for most of the world. Lastly, ComiXology Unlimited is best reserved for avid comic book readers.

If you want to add more ebooks to your collection, just keep in mind that you don't necessarily need a subscription. Plenty of sites offer free ebook downloads that you should definitely take advantage of.


10 Facebook Search Tips to Find What You’re Looking For

If you know how to use it, Facebook's search feature is a powerful tool. You can find results on everything from where your friends' photos were taken through to family-friendly events in your local area.

If you want to find more of what you're looking for with Facebook search, here are our top Facebook search tips and tricks.

At its most basic level, searching on Facebook works as you'd expect it to. You enter the keyword you're looking for, and you'll see a list of results. The results are automatically categorized by type. The exact order in which they appear will depend on the query you entered and where you're based.

Scroll further down, and you'll see results from public posts, groups, pages, photos, videos, and more.

On the left-hand side of the screen are the filters. You can use these to narrow down your list of results into something more manageable.

Following Facebook's dramatic redesign in mid-2020, the old default filters of Posts from, Post type, Posted in group, Tagged location, and Date posted are no longer available. They have been replaced with a new list of 11 filters. The new filters each have a specific focus and have dedicated sub-filters allowing you to further refine your results.

The new filters are Posts, People, Photos, Videos, Marketplace, Pages, Places, Groups, Apps, Events, and Links. We'll look at some of these filters and sub-filters in more detail during the rest of the article.

Many of the text-based Facebook search bar commands you could use (for example, "find photos liked by [name]") do not work any more. Instead, they have been consolidated into the new filters.

The first filter, Posts, contains four sub-filters. Perhaps the most useful of the bunch is the Posts you've seen toggle. We've all had times when we've seen something in our feed but been unable to relocate it later in the day; this toggle helps by only showing posts that you scrolled past.

You can also filter the posts by tagged location. This is the filter to use if you want to find out what people are saying about a certain place on the other side of the world.

The other Facebook search filter that users will instantly gravitate towards is Photos. This where you can do some sleuthing on your partner, friends, and colleagues (not that MakeUseOf would ever condone such a thing!).

Four sub-filters are available for Photos: Posted by, Photo type, Tagged location, and Date posted.

The Photo type filter lets you specify whether to restrict your search to photos you've seen on your news feed or to display results from the entire Facebook database. The Posted by and Tagged Location fields both let you enter any name/place you want.

Facebook has also introduced some new filters to its video search tool. In addition to the sort options and the ability to select a tagged location, there are now toggles for live videos and group videos.

If you enable the Live toggle, it will also show broadcasts that are airing right now. For example, the results will not include live videos that have ended. Check out our article explaining how to watch Facebook live on both desktop and mobile if you'd like more information.

Facebook Places is another tool that's become noticeably more powerful over the last few years. Whether you're looking for a restaurant, family activity, or nearby tourist spots, the tool will be able to help.

The sub-filters in the Places search are equally powerful. Seven sub-filters are available:

  • Open Now
  • Delivery
  • Takeaway
  • Location
  • Status
  • Visited by friends
  • Price

They help to narrow down your hits until you can find exactly the place you're looking for.

The internet isn't exactly short of ways to help you look for a new job. However, Facebook's job hunting tools are a powerful option that lots of people overlook. You can use the feature to find a new job in any country on the planet.

To begin, click on the Jobs link in the left-hand panel of Facebook's homepage. At the time of writing, the filters haven't yet been upgraded to the new design found on the Facebook search queries page. Nonetheless, you can still use the left-hand menu to filter by location, job type, and sector.

Facebook might never be able to rival Amazon, but its Marketplace has rapidly become a leading way for people to buy and sell things. In many ways, it's easier to locate stuff on Facebook than on eBay. Indeed, it's possible to find everything from a brand-new iPhone to a second-hand car.

Searching the Marketplace works slightly differently to the process for finding content on the rest of the social network. You first need to enter the Marketplace by clicking on the link in the left-hand panel.

When the page has loaded, enter your basic search term and press Enter. You'll then need to use the filters to narrow down the results. There are Category, Location, Item condition, and Price filters for you to tweak.

(NB: Before you buy something on Facebook Marketplace, make sure you understand Facebook's refund policy. The Marketplace is not covered by the same rules as Facebook's other services.)

Like Facebook's Places tool, the events tool is a great way to find things that are going on around you right now.

You can filter by location, date, and categories, but the three most useful filters are arguably the Online Events toggle, the Family-friendly toggle, and the Popular with friends toggle.

The final Facebook filter that's worth a mention is the Groups search. You can enter a keyword, then use the sub-filters to refine the list into groups in specific locations that match your interest.

It's also useful if you're the type of person who is a member of hundreds of Facebook groups and needs a way to sort through them.

Facebook's search feature is unlikely to ever rival Google as the number one way of finding stuff on the web.

However, Google's search engine cannot access much of the content on Facebook. Lots of users have de-indexed their profiles, making it impossible for Google to find photos and videos that other users have liked on the social network.

So, you should definitely add Facebook's search tool to your armory. It's just one of many alternative search engines that can find information that's beyond Google's reach.