I was on the fence about buying the $50 special edition, so I got the regular one to compare them and decide if I really need to shell out 30 more dollars from my wallet.
Just like the special edition, the insides of the front and back covers have beautiful colored art depicting the characters from TMI and TID.
Removing the slipcover reveals a soft textured (almost velvet) hardcover with a gold chalice imprinted on the front, the same as the special edition.
After hunting down people who bought the special editions and questioning them about its contents, I've come to the conclusion that the only differences are the pretty gold edges of the pages, the ribbon attached for bookmarking and the hard case it comes in. All that for about $30 more - it's mostly about the coolness factor.
I may still be tempted to purchase the special edition... What can I say? I'm a sucker for gold-edged pages. ;P But you don't even get a slipcover! I'll have to sleep on it.
Hey, if you're low on cash, don't think you're missing out by buying the cheaper one! It's the same quality, minus the gold trim, for less the dinero.