Bob Dylan’s publisher is offering refunds for a $600 special edition of his new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, acknowledging that the allegedly “hand-signed” copies were not individually inscribed.
“To those who purchased THE PHILOSOPHY OF MODERN SONG limited edition, we want to apologize,” Simon & Schuster announced in a statement posted Sunday (Nov. 20) 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.”
Simon & Schuster’s statement came after days of complaints from customers, who through social media had compared their copies and found the autographs suspiciously alike. The books had arrived with a letter from Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, vouching for the signature’s authenticity. But, according to Variety, when the books began arriving in fans’ mailboxes last week, they began comparing notes, and photos, and realized that the books had seemingly been signed using an “autopen,” which mimics a real signature and then reproduces it using a machine-powered pen.
On Friday, the publisher reportedly refused requests for refunds of the $599 limited-edition version, still claiming that it was hand signed, as evidenced by the letter included from S&S’s Karp. Within 48 hours, however, the fan photos caused the publisher to reverse course, leading to emails on Sunday admitted to the “mistake.”
The Philosophy of Modern Song, in which Dylan assesses compositions ranging from Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” to Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender,” was published Nov. 1. A Dylan spokesperson declined comment Monday.