Bob Dylan’s publisher is issuing refunds for a pricey book that contains his “replica” autograph.
Copies of the singer’s new book “The Philosophy of Modern Song” were promoted as being hand-signed by the folk-rock legend and sold for $600 each. But now the publisher admits that the signatures were not being done by hand and purchasers are entitled to refunds.
“To those who purchased the ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’ limited edition, we want to apologize,” Simon & Schuster announced in a statement on social media. “As it turns out, the limited edition 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 (@simonschuster) November 20, 2022
The scandal was revealed when fans started comparing photos of the autographs on social media and noticed they looked identical. The books were issued with a letter from Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, guaranteeing the signature was authentic.
“You hold in your hands something very special, one of just 900 copies available in the U.S.,” the letter said. “This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.”
It seems that the books were signed using “autopen,” which captures a genuine signature and reproduces it using a machine-powered pen, as Variety reported.
“The Philosophy of Modern Song” was published on November 1 and includes Dylan’s commentary on 66 songs by other artists. This is the first book Dylan has published since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he received in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Some fans were unhappy with the apology, claiming Simon & Schuster must have known the signatures were replicas.
“Nothing other than fraud driven by greed. Decision to refund now is because it will be less costly than defending a class action lawsuit,” one Twitter user shared. “CEO & other execs who put names to the ‘certificate of authenticity’ guarantee should resign & authorities charge those involved in this scam.”
“You wrote hand signed, you are just lying,” another person wrote. “You used 17 signature variations to attempt to [get] away with it. Just admit it. Its [sic] a signature honor it.”
Dylan, 81, is considered one of the most influential songwriters of all time, with a career spanning more than 60 years. Besides winning a Nobel Prize, he was also awarded a Pulitzer citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”