In recent years, in response to the rise in the attention paid to intellectual property rights, the fan base of online fiction has become a potentially valuable market for attracting readers. Within this field, the experienced readers are the most critical of this aspect of the development of chain of online fiction in practice. Therefore, we invited fifty experienced readers in Taiwan to participate an empirical research study. We examined important criteria of reading online fiction based on the viewpoint of Robert Escarpit’s sociology of literature, including critical literature reviews and the modified Delphi method. Accordingly, seven criteria were developed from three dimensions and are then analyzed according their weight, causal relationship and performance according to a multicriteria decision-making approach, specifically the decision making trial and evaluation laboratorybased analytical network processing (DEMATEL-based ANP) approach. Moreover, we further adopted the Adults Reading Motivation Scale (ARMS) to measure the types of motivation that drives readers and conducted in-depth interviews to create our evaluation framework employing a mixed research methods approach. The results show that the reading behavior of most readers is influenced by the “publishing function” factor, which is also an important source for refining the market. Additionally, the factor of “channel” is important and can be easily influenced by the other factors. Moreover, the research results reveal different causal relationships among dimensions and criteria with different levels of motivation. Accordingly, we proposed an Escarpit’s sociology of literature-based causal relationship evaluation model for explaining the viewpoint of online fiction on the part of readers who have different levels of motivation. This study thereby widens the horizon of the market of online fiction by developing a comprehensive evaluation model from the perspective of the key factors of choosing to read online fiction and reading motivation.
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