Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Bob Dylan's recent book The Philosophy of Modern Song, have issued an apology and refunded customers after it emerged that "autographed" copies they'd sold at $600 weren't signed by the singer at all, but were "penned replicas."
The books were advertised on a now-deleted page on Simon & Schuster's website (opens in new tab) under the banner headline "Order an exclusive copy guaranteed to be personally hand-signed by Bob Dylan!", priced at $599 (including shipping). But once copies started to arrive and fans began comparing signatures, it became apparent that they'd been written by an autopen machine.
“To those who purchased The Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologise,” wrote the publisher. “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."
If that weren't embarrassing enough, the books also included a note from Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, guaranteeing the signature's provenance.
“You hold in your hands something very special," he wrote. "One of just 900 copies available in the U.S. The Philosophy of Modern Song signed by Bob Dylan. This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.”
The Philosophy of Modern Song is Dylan's first book since he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. It features over sixty essays on songs written by other musicians including Elvis Costello, The Clash, Gregg Allman, Peter Green and, uhm, Perry Como.