I buy one full manual every year.
My first manual was the Lee #2, and I accompanied it with several free manuals from powder and bullet manufacturers.
Later on I got the Lyman #48.
About a year later I got my Hodgdon 2004 manual.
Just last month I got the dedicated load book for .44magnum that was mentioned earlier. I'm having lots of fun with experimenting on the .30-30, so I will probably get the dedicated book for .30-30. Those seem to be my two favorite plinking guns nowadays.
I agree that the Lee book is not as comprehensive as it first comes across. It is big, it is thick, and has a lot of good reference info in the beginning sections, but it is not the right book for someone interested in true cartridge minimum and maximum loads. If you wanna plink, it will give you working cartridges in a safe range, though.
I'd say my Lyman #48 is my favorite.