Bob Dylan is apologizing to his fans following the controversy over “hand-signed” copies of his latest book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, which were inscribed using an autopen for a nearly $600 special edition.
The iconic singer-songwriter took to social media on Friday (Nov. 25) to explain that his “error in judgement” was partly due to a “bad case of vertigo” that made signing his new Simon & Schuster-published book difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been made aware that there’s some controversy about signatures on some of my recent artwork prints and on a limited-edition of Philosophy of Modern Song,” Dylan wrote on Facebook. “I’ve hand-signed each and every art print over the years, and there’s never been a problem.”
He continued, “However, in 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years. It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions, and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging. So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help. With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done ‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds.”
Following the early November release of The Philosophy of Modern Song, fans who spent $599 on a limited-edition run of 900 copies — which came with a letter of authenticity from Simon & Schuster — began sharing images of their autographs through social media, only to find that they were exactly alike with no variation. Buyers quickly came to the conclusion that the special edition had been inscribed using an autopen, which prompted the publisher to issue an apology and offer refunds.
“To those who purchased The Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologize,” Simon & Schuster wrote in a Nov. 20 statement on Instagram. “As it turns out, the 900 limited edition versions of the books do contain Bob’s original signature, but in a penned replica form. We are addressing this immediately by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund.”
Dylan concluded his apology on Friday, writing, “Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.”
Read Dylan’s apology on Facebook here.