Bob Dylan has apologized to fans who purchased what they believed to be hand-signed copies of his new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, but were later revealed to contain reproductions of the songwriter’s signature. He took to social media on Friday (November 25) to address the issue, claiming that he used an autopen for the signatures after a “bad case of vertigo” made him unable to sign some of the $599 books.
“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,” he 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.
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.
With my deepest regrets,
Dylan’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, has also addressed the incident. After initially refusing to offer refunds, the publisher later issued a statement confirming that Dylan had not signed some of the books; Simon & Schuster also apologized for the confusion and offered a full refund to anyone who purchased a signed copy of the book. The issue first came to light shortly after physical copies of the books shipped out, with buyers identifying what they believed to be 17 variations of Dylan’s signature, as Variety reports.
“To those who purchased the ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’ limited edition, we want to apologize,” the publisher wrote on Twitter. “As it turns out, the limited edition books do contain Bob’s original signature, but in a penned replica form. We are addressing this information by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund.”