Perhaps the recent revamp of B&N.com was spurred by Borders Books and Music getting ready to reclaim Borders.com in early 2008. Until recenlty, they've been directing traffic to Amazon.com, where anyone with a brain basically goes to shop online. The discounts are better, the selection wider, and you can get more than books, music and dvd's.
In a side-by-side comparison, the B&N site is more homogeneous in design, color palate and flow between sections. Borders.com (beta) features harsh breaks and static images. While I do like the scrollable "magic shelf" front and center on Borders.com (which sadly you can only scroll up and down on), B&N.com has a lovely animation of their featured titles running right to left with mini windows that show you the price and discount when you mouse over the cover of any title.
Best addition to the new Borders site is their "guest shortlist" featuring 5 picks to read, watch and listen to.
Newest edition to B&N is their reviews section (which I don't see anything comparible to on the Borders site). While the author interviews will be a great addition, I doubt we're going to get critical debate or bad reviews coming out of B&N.com.
In the final analysis, both are too busy promoting ALL their products, instead of focusing on their main mission: Books. Sadly, we're left with sites that are "full of sound and fury, signifying... nothing."
ps: Borders, you might want to put a temporary "coming soon" page up for people who type in Borders.com. Also, talk to google, because the 2nd listing for borders.com on a google search is your partnership with Amazon.com.