Fans accuse Bob Dylan book publisher of selling autopen autographs as official

Purchasers have been refunded

Bob Dylan fans have accused Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Dylan’s The Philosophy of Modern Song, of selling autopen autographs as official. Fans who spent $600 to buy 900 personally “hand-signed” autographed copies of the new book will now be refunded after the publisher, who offered the books directly from its website, fielded complaints from fans, according to Variety.

“To those who purchased the ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’ limited edition, we want to apologize,” Simon & Schuster tweeted on Sunday. “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.”

Eagle-eyed fans began spotting the roughly 17 different signature variations after receiving their books over the weekend. Autopen recreates real signatures and duplicates them using a machine. This process is not well received among collectors who are looking for official autographs.

Each book came with a letter signed by Simon & Schuster CEO and president Jonathan Karp, confirming the autographs were real.

“You hold in your hands something very special, one of just 900 copies available in the US of The Philosophy of Modern Song signed by Bob Dylan,” the letter reads. “This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.”

The company initially denied refunds when complaints began flooding their inbox on Friday. However, by Sunday afternoon, Simon & Schuster sent out emails advising them they could keep their books at no charge as a refund was being issued for the “mistake.”

It’s unclear how or why the books were signed with autopen, but it’s unlikely the publisher deliberately tried to deceive customers.

Dylan, who began working on The Philosophy of Modern Song in 2010, offers his extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. He writes over 60 essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com

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