Sign of the Times
Simon and Schuster issuing $600 refunds after acknowledging The Philosophy of Modern Song featured Dylan’s signature in “penned replica form”
Publishing giant Simon and Schuster is issuing refunds for the $600 “hand-signed” edition of Bob Dylan’s new book The Philosophy of Modern Song after it turned out Dylan’s autograph was a “penned replica.”
Simon and Schuster announced the news on Instagram, writing, “To those who purchased The Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologize. 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.”
The refunds followed an uproar in corners of the web dedicated to both Dylan and autograph collecting as readers began comparing signatures. While there were some variations in the signatures, as Variety notes, it appeared that the books were actually signed not by hand but by an autopen machine that can accurately recreate someone’s signature.
Adding to reader/collector frustration: Not only had Simon and Schuster advertised the limited edition of The Philosophy of Modern Song as being hand-signed by Dylan, but those copies even came with a note from CEO Jonathan Karp vouching for their authenticity. “You hold in your hands something very special, one of just 900 copies available in the U.S. The Philosophy of Modern Song signed by Bob Dylan,” Karp wrote, adding at the very end, “This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.”
A rep for Dylan did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
As it happens, Dylan fans and autograph aficionados aren’t the only people a little peeved by Dylan’s new book. The book contains essays, musings, and digressions based around some of Dylan’s favorite songs, though in praising his faves, he also ribbed a few others. Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz admitted to Rolling Stone he was a bit piqued when Dylan said Elvis Costello and the Attractions “were a better band than any of their contemporaries.” Dylan also included a quip about Joe Satriani’s effusive guitar playing, though the musician took it in stride, cracking, “Bob Dylan knows my name?”