Bob Dylan’s latest book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, came out earlier this month. The book is a collection of Dylan’s commentary and notes on 66 songs by other artists — from Willie Nelson to Nina Simone. The audiobook version features an illustrious cast of celebrity voices reading chapters like Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Renée Zellweger, Alfre Woodard, and Jeffrey Wright. Pretty cool right? You know what’s not cool though? Marketing a $600 limited edition copy of the book autographed by Bob Dylan, but including only replica autographs and not the real thing.
That’s exactly what Dylan’s publisher, Simon & Schuster did, and now they got caught (duh) and are apologizing. “To those who purchased the ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’ limited edition, we want to apologize,” the publisher tweeted. “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.”
As Variety reports, when the books started arriving to customers last week, the signatures looked fishy. Of course Bob Dylan fans have robust online forums and plain old social media with which to compare photos. They found 17 different variations of the signature that were made using an “autopen,” a widely-used device that replicates real signatures using a machine pen. At first, Simon & Schuster were declining refunds, but now they’ve finally caved under the pressure because, come on!
Previous mentions of the “personally signed” limited editions copies appear to have been removed from Bob Dylan’s Twitter account.