The other day I got two different requests from people who wanted signed copies of my books. That part wasn't so unusual. People do ask for signed copies they can purchase. What was unusual about these requests, was first of all I had two of them at the same time, and they both were buying my books for their friends. Both of these requests were for the holidays and asked that I make them out for their friends and send it directly to them.
I think that's really a lovely gesture, don't you? If you have a friend that is a booklover, why not get a book you think they might like signed by the author and inscribed especially for them. It's a way to personalize their gift, and hey, even if they end up not liking the book, the gesture means an awful to them.
Pay attention to the genre your friend reads often. Get the latest book in that genre and then get it signed by the author if you can. Or, go to your local bookstore and see which books are available that have already been signed. (Sometimes when an author visits the shop, they'll have them sign a few books to sell later.) Or, find out your friend's favorite author and have them personalize a book.