Amazon's CreateSpace ("CS") has a new program that allows authors to approve a book proof for distribution,without actually seeing it, to save time and money.
This is dangerous for a first-generation proof, but may be OK for later generations. (NOTE: It's important to view your book as a Word doc, a PDF, and in printed form. Different errors will be revealed in each medium.)
If I am reasonably sure that a book will be good enough to not embarrass me, I tell CS that it’s OK to distribute the book. In less than hour (maybe in just a few minutes) the book will be available at Amazon (compared to several days for books printed by Lightning Source).
I can order a book for second-day delivery with free shipping because I am a member of “Amazon Prime.” Alternatively, I can pay $2.99 for next-day shipping — even for delivery on Saturday morning!
Although I pay the retail price for the book, my cost is reduced by the publisher’s profit I make on the book, and my purchase helps the book’s sales ranking.
Because I make a lot of purchases with Amazon/Chase credit cards (I have one, my wife has one, and my business has one), I accumulate lots of Amazon $25 gift certificates. If I use a certificate to buy my own book, and then earn the publisher’s profit, the book costs me less than nothing.
If I find errors in the book I get from Amazon, I submit a revised file to CS, and the book quickly becomes unavailable on Amazon. This keeps people from buying a less-than-perfect book, but the book is still on Amazon and people can see it and order it for future delivery.