Bob Dylan Apologizes For Not Signing 'Hand-Signed' Books

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Bob Dylan has publicly apologized after iHeartRadio.ca reported on the suspicions of collectors that “hand-signed” copies of his new book The Philosophy Of Modern Song were not, in fact, hand-signed.

In a message to fans on his Facebook page, the 81-year-old music legend admitted it was “error in judgment” to use an autopen device to inscribe his signature in 1,000 copies of the book that were priced at $600 U.S.

“In 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years,” Dylan wrote. “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.”

Expressing his “deepest regrets,” Dylan said: “Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I’m working with Simon & Schuster … to do just that.”

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Questions about the authenticity of the signatures were first reported here on Nov. 18 – and less than 48 hours later, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp notified customers via email: “We apologize for the mistake that was made and are offering a full refund of your purchase. Please keep your copy of The Philosophy of Modern Song at no cost. We hope you will enjoy reading it.”

In a tweet on Nov. 20, Simon & Schuster explained: "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."

Karp did not respond to questions from iHeartRadio.ca about when he learned that Dylan’s signatures were not authentic. His name appeared on letters to customers, dated Nov. 15, that claimed to be “confirmation that the copy of the book you hold has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.”

Simon & Schuster boasted on its website that the books are “guaranteed to be personally hand-signed by Bob Dylan!” But, shortly after iHeartRadio.ca reported on the controversy, the website was updated with a message that read: “This edition is no longer available for sale.”

Dylan's team doubled down, though, tweeting on Nov. 19: “Each individual copy of the limited signed edition of Bob Dylan’s THE PHILOSOPHY OF MODERN SONG was personally signed by the author.” The tweet was later deleted.

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