As a writer, books are an important part of my life and often I would give books to people as birthday and Christmas gifts. I tried to fit the book with what I knew of their wants and interests. It served me well for many years.
I have many friends that love horror and since I have connections to many writers, I would often give them books from writers they've never heard of. Over the past few years, more and more writers have been going to eBook format and foregoing the paperback or hardback route altogether.
It just seems so anticlimactic to give someone a file instead of a physical book. It's like saying, “Here's your gift, just open up your Kindle Cloud and you'll find it in there." There's no smell of fresh pages and physicality to it.
Does that lessen the impact of the book? Does it seem like I care less because I send an eBook instead of a paperback? It's very possible that in the next 20 years, there will no longer be paperback books on bookstore shelves. Everything will be done online and electronically sent to your e-reader of choice.
Regardless of what sending an eBook as a gift feels like to me or the receiver, it's going to become the norm. I would rather provide a wrapped paperback or hardback book as a gift, but I guess a neatly folded amazom.com receipt will have to do. That doesn't mean I have to like it.