James L. McQuiveyThis morning, on opening day of the 2012 Digital Book World Conference + Expo, James L. McQuivey, Ph.D., Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, detailed a survey of publishing executives that sees declining enthusiasm about their business chances in the e-book era.

“People are generally optimistic still, but that optimism is waning,” McQuivey told CCC’s Chris Kenneally shortly before he spoke to more than 1400 editors, executives, and technologists. “Publishers have started to do the hard work of making the digital transition and they’re finding that it is, indeed, hard work.”

While the fall in high spirits is hardly precipitous – according to the survey, now in its second year, 82% of book publishing executives are “optimistic” about the digital transition, down from 89% a year ago – it may represent an awakening to the reality of dramatic change in publsihing, McQuivey said, and the fear that change inevitably brings.

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