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Batoto was once one of the most popular sites for reading manga online for free. However, in May 2018 the site announced that it would be shutting down permanently. This came as a shock to many manga fans who relied on Batoto to read their favorite series. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind Why is Batoto Shutting Down? and what it means for the future of reading manga online.
What is Batoto?
Batoto was founded in 2009 as an online manga reader database and community. Fans could browse Batoto’s extensive manga library and read the entire series for free. The site offered high-quality scans and translations in English for both ongoing and completed manga series.
At its peak, Batoto had over 450,000 manga series in its database with around 10 million visitors per month. It became a go-to destination for manga readers around the world. The site developed an active community where fans could discuss manga, share recommendations, and interact with other readers.
Why is Batoto Shutting Down?
In early 2018, rumors started circulating that Batoto might be facing legal issues and getting ready to close. On May 25, 2018, the site officially announced its permanent shutdown. Batoto provided two key reasons for the closure:
As an unauthorized manga reader site, Batoto faced ongoing issues with copyright infringement. Manga publishers began cracking down more heavily on sites hosting pirated scans and translations of manga content.
Batoto likely received increasing DMCA takedown notices demanding they remove copyrighted content. Rather than face escalating legal battles, the site owners decided to shutter Batoto entirely.
Maintaining servers, scanning infrastructure, and other operating costs made Batoto expensive to run. As a free site, Batoto relied heavily on user donations rather than subscriptions or ads.
Donations had been declining, making the financial burden difficult to sustain. Facing both money problems and legal threats, the site owners felt they had no choice but to close Batoto.
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What Does This Mean for Reading Manga Online?
Batoto’s shutdown came as a major disruption for manga fans. Some readers lost access to thousands of saved series on their Batoto reading lists and archives. Batoto represented over 10% of all online manga scanlations, leaving a major void.
However, Batoto’s closure doesn’t mean there aren’t still many options for reading manga online. Here are some of the effects on the manga scanlation ecosystem:
Increased Use of Remaining Scanlation Sites
Popular sites like MangaDex, MangaSee, and Mangakakalot have seen spikes in traffic as former Batoto users migrate there. However, these sites now face a greater threat of legal action themselves.
Growth of Official Publisher Sites
Major manga publishers like Viz Media and Crunchyroll are trying to attract more readers to their official sites. These offer legally translated manga but often have more limited libraries compared to scanlation sites.
More Groups Moving to Private Sites
Some scanlation groups have moved their projects to private sites and servers only accessible to approved members. This helps avoid DMCA takedowns but also makes translated manga harder to access.
Increased Fan Translation Caution
Groups have become more cautious about which series they scanlate to avoid conflicts with publishers. Popular ongoing Shonen Jump series are less likely to get scanned now.
Push for Legal Alternatives
Batoto’s closure added momentum to calls for more affordable, convenient access to official translated manga. International pricing and availability remain a major issue, however.
While illegal manga aggregators still thrive, Batoto’s shutdown was a warning sign to the scanlation community. Groups and readers must now weigh risks versus access as they navigate the grey areas of online manga.
What Made Batoto Special?
Beyond its giant manga library, Batoto offered some unique features that set it apart and made it beloved by many fans:
Quality Scans and Translations
Batoto mandated minimum scan and translation quality standards for all series on the site. This ensured excellent readability and a few low-quality drafts.
Robust Tagging and Search
Users could tag manga with genre, format, release status, and other metadata. This allowed powerful advanced searching for exactly the type of manga you wanted.
Users could create profiles, discuss manga in forums, leave reviews and comments, and interact with a community of fellow manga enthusiasts. This cultivated an active user base.
Batoto had a simple, clean, ad-free interface focused solely on the manga reading experience. Fans could immerse themselves in reading without distractions.
Memory of Reading Progress
The site remembered your last-read chapter across devices. This allowed easy picking up where you left off while reading on mobile or different computers.
These features made Batoto stand out as more than just an everyday pirate site. For many fans, it offered an unmatched community manga database that has yet to be replicated since its closure.
What’s Next for Manga Scanlation?
While Batoto is gone, scanlation and unofficial translations remain popular with fans, especially those seeking niche genres not often licensed officially. However, the landscape continues shifting in the years after batoto’s shutdown:
- Groups decentralize across many smaller sites rather than central platforms to limit legal risk.
- Official publisher apps like Viz, Shonen Jump, and Crunchyroll Manga attract more readers but still lack content depth compared to scanlation.
- More translated manga integrates Webtoon-style vertical infinite scrolling rather than traditional page-by-page formats.
- Publishers ramp up digital-first global manga releases but pricing issues persist around many print legacy series.
- Artificial intelligence starts getting leveraged to speed up translation and lettering processes but poses risks around quality.
While scanlation faces challenges, it retains devoted fans unwilling to wait months or years for officially licensed releases. Batoto’s closure was the end of an era, but unofficial online manga reading seems poised to evolve rather than disappear entirely.
The Legacy of Batoto
For many manga enthusiasts, Batoto represented the internet at its best. A passion project by fans, for fans. At a time when manga was still a niche interest globally, Batoto cultivated one of the first large-scale online manga reading communities.
But as a pirate site profiting off unauthorized content, Batoto lived in a legal grey area that ultimately became untenable. Still, it inspired many groups to take up scanlation and made translated manga accessible to millions of new readers.
Batoto’s shutdown marked the end of a pioneering era in online manga fandom. The manga community owes the site a debt for helping launch the digital manga revolution. Batoto’s legacy lives on in every group now sharing their love of manga across borders and languages. Through their work, any fan can access an ever-growing library of manga and find their next favorite series.