Do you give books as gifts? This post on The Passive Voice estimates that 9 million fewer books were given as gifts in 2013 in the U.K. Did you receive a book as a gift last year? In the past, I would buy books for my children to give as birthday presents when invited to a friend's birthday party. This would inevitably be over their objections as they were of the firm belief that the latest plastic action hero figure was infinitely preferable. I would expound on the virtues of books, not to mention their longevity but I have doubts as to my persuasive powers. Usually, I would let them choose a second gift; children's books were $5 or less in those days.
Gift cards to large chain bookstores like Chapters are popular choices for thank you gifts and honorariums for guest speakers or workshop facilitators when a Starbucks card was deemed 'not enough'. At least recipients could make their own choice and these days large books stores have many non-book items for sale including cosmetics and towels.
I would hesitate to rely on the bestseller list in choosing a gift book. Have a look at the current top ten and consider whether one would fit your gift giving objectives. You might offend someone. The recipient might wonder whether you were sending a subliminal message with your choice.
Many people have e-readers and might not be happy to receive a physical book after they spent several painful afternoons purging their collection. A paperback book seems insubstantial somehow; a throwaway item and hardcover books are usually more than $30.00. If it is a reference book or something that will be re-read annually the money would be well spent but for a one-time read that may not even be finished, perhaps not.