I haven't compared the two Core editions, but comparing my special edition Core to my standard edition Bestiary, the binding on the special edition Core does feel like it's of better construction. It also lays flat, has two ribbon bookmarks, and just looks very nice. I know it's only a faux leather cover, but it doesn't look cheap, or feel cheap. If you're on the fence about it, and have the extra $20 to spend, I'd go with the special edition. Hope that helps!