The regular 2003 album originally priced between $14 to $16 in the stores
is the regular U.S. release. The 2003 limited release is indicated by a higher price ($25),
dark green cover, and typically a sticker indicating its "limited" nature on the front
plastic. The 2003 Internet-only release was available through the label's website and has a
dark red cover and even higher price ($30). The musical contents are the same on all products.
The 2003 trilogy set is essentially the original three albums from the films combined into
one package (with no extra music). The value of the different cover inserts (on the trading
block) is yet to be determined. They could very well end up useless unless you acquire a
whole set of 5 covers.
The 2007 set includes the complete recordings, priced initially for between $55 and $65, and
features the double-sided DVD with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound along with four CDs that
offer 230 minutes from the score in 16-bit stereo sound. Other higher resolution variants on
sound quality exist on the DVD (see review for details).
The 2010 Howe Records album called "The Rarities Archive" was only available
in the back cover of the Doug Adams book The Music of The Lord of the Rings
Films: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore's Scores. That book had an
MSRP of $60 but initially sold new for under $40.
The 2018 complete set is a re-issue of the 2007 product but with a Blu-ray
disc rather than a DVD for the surround sound option. It debuted for $85 but
went out of print after about a year, escalating in price to $250 or more.