The PDF presets really determine the quality of the PDF exported from InDesign. The High Print Quality preset (i.e. .joboption) is one of the few that would be appropriate for high quality printing on a digital printer. The only other preset that you could reasonably use for this is PDF/X-4, but that won't generate any simpler PDF.
You don't say what type of “creo” RIP is front-ending the Canon ImagePRESS, but if for example, you are sending it to a Prinergy, you may have a situation in which your file is undergoing a number of unnecessary transformations before finally going to a real RIP at the printer itself. More information would help us help you here.
Ultimately, graphic complexity of your content does directly effect the time for printing. Mnay images and use of transparency can be major contributors to such slow performance. However, the performance problem should only effect the time to print the first copy of your eight page book. Second and subsequent copies should print at full engine speed.
It seems like it is "undergoing a number of unnecessary transformations"... What I'm not understanding is why, I print files similar once a month. This particular one may have 20% more images. As for the performance problem, its ideal to printing the first copy, and then engine full speed... the interesting problem with this is, that's not the case this time.