Simon & Schuster Issues Refunds for $600 “Signed” Bob Dylan Books

The limited-edition copies were actually "signed" using autopen technology to replicate Dylan's autograph

Bob Dylan performs on the Late Show with David Letterman on May 19, 2015.
Bob Dylan performs on the "Late Show with David Letterman" on May 19, 2015.
CBS via Getty Images

Fans who shoveled over a whopping $600 for an autographed copy of Bob Dylan’s new book The Philosophy of Modern Song didn’t exactly get what they bargained for. As Stereogum reports, Dylan’s publisher Simon & Schuster is issuing refunds for the pricey signed copies after it was revealed that the legendary musician didn’t actually personally sign each book.

The “signed” copies began arriving in purchasers’ mailboxes on Friday, and keen-eyed fans quickly deduced that they were done with “autopen” technology, which as Variety notes, “captures a real signature and reproduces it with a machine-powered pen.” Autopen signatures are generally considered to be worthless in the collector’s world of celebrity autographs.

The $600 copies of The Philosophy of Modern were each accompanied by a letter of authenticity that asserted “This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.” When fans began complaining on social media that that clearly wasn’t the case, Simon & Schuster initially stood its ground, claiming “each individual copy of the limited signed edition of Bob Dylan’s The Philosophy of Modern Song was personally signed by the author and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the publisher of Simon & Schuster.”

Now, however, they’re changing their tune and offering refunds. “To those who purchased The Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologize,” the company wrote in a statement. “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.”

No word yet from Dylan’s team on the debacle, but maybe he can hunker down at Dunkin Donuts and sign a few books to make it right.

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