The spindle is something that requires some patience with the learning curve. I was horribly frustrated when I began - leader yarn breaking, much swearing. I'd say that now I'm probably a mediocre spinner - I can get it moving but I lack the fine control for specific yarns. This is all because I don't take the trouble to practice more often, though.
It is a skill worth learning, and the drop spindle is definitely the most affordable way to get experience. The key is to have patience with yourself, and if the books don't work for you, try to find someone at your LYS or community ed office that can find a course for you. Sometimes it just takes learning from someone face to face - seeing it helps you put together what your own hands ought to be doing.
(Note to Amy - spinning tutorials for Drop Spindle? Good expansion lesson.