The publishing industry is in a recession too. And if you have ever become completely absorbed in a book, or thought about a book long after you've finished reading it. . . buy books for those hard to buy people on your list.
Oh, would you like a recommendation? Here's one. And another. And this. If you don't like these books after you have read them, I will buy them from you.
Or just browse categories on Amazon.com or BN.com - the sites have made it so easy for you to find books for those on your shopping list, by interest, editorial acclaim, customer rating, genre, date of publication. And it's free shipping. You don't even have to waste gas or time getting to and from the bookstore.
Who gives books as presents? Smart people. That's who.