Only a few years ago, publishing a printed book was a long drawn out processed and would have involved you a course in miracles bookstore of copies of your book.
Now, print on demand technology means that the only “stock” held is a file that is used to create the printed book when it’s ordered.
The quality is good as well. Aside from people who are in the print industry, no-one I’ve shown the printed books I’ve had produced knows that they were printed on demand. To a layman, the quality of a self published print on demand book is indistinguishable from a regular printed paperback.
Of course, if you go down this route, there will be a time lag between a customer ordering a copy of your book and the postman delivering that. But that doesn’t affect the incredibly short time lag between uploading your new book and it being offered for sale.
Typically it takes Amazon Kindle around 24 to 48 hours to publish your book once you click the button on their site. The time lag is essentially whilst their computer systems do various background processing tasks before your new book goes live on the Amazon site.
With CreateSpace there is a similar process involved and there’s a short time delay between submitting your finished book and it being available for sale.
If it’s your first print on demand book, CreateSpace strongly suggest that you get a printed proof through the post, which adds a few more days to the process. Apart from anything else, I’d say that it’s well worth getting a printed copy so that you can show it to anyone who’ll take notice.
Obviously there are other factors that affect how long it takes to publish your book. These include things like getting a cover created, writing the description that will be shown below your book in stores like Amazon, maybe some information for the back cover if you’re going to print your book, that kind of thing.