Bob Dylan’s publisher apologizes and offers refunds of his $600 special edition ‘hand-signed’ book after admitting the signature is in fact printed using ‘autopen’
- Fans became suspicious after comparing photos of signatures online
- Publisher insisted signatures were real after complaints before changing mind
- Limited run of only 900 books were on offer, with letter of authenticity included
- Letter read: ‘the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan’
Bob Dylan fans have been offered refunds of the singer’s $600 special edition ‘hand-signed’ book after its publisher admitted a machine had been used to sign them.
A limited run of 900 signed copies of the singer’s book The Philosophy of Modern Song had been released by publisher Simon & Schuster, touting them as being signed by the legendary artist himself.
However, after receiving the books on Friday, fans soon noticed something wasn’t right after comparing signature photos and spotting similarities between them.
Images of Bob Dylan’s ‘signature’ were collated by suspicious fans and shared online, including this grab from Twitter
U.S. musician Bob Dylan performs during The Hop Festival in Paddock Wood, Kent, UK on June 30, 2012
Readers soon accused the publisher of using an autopen, a device used to mechanically create signatures from an original pre-stored version.
After initially insisting the signatures were genuine, the publisher refused to offer readers a refund, referring to the letter of authenticity it had included with each copy.
The letter, signed by the publisher’s president-CEO, read: ‘You hold in your hands something very special, one of just 900 copies available in the U.S.
‘This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.’
By Sunday, however, it had changed its mind, posting on Twitter: ‘To those who purchased the ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’ limited edition, we want to apologize.
The publisher of Bob Dylan’s hand-signed book has promised refunds to buyers, posting this apology online
This cover image released by Simon & Schuster shows The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan
What is an autopen?
An autopen is a machine used to automatically create a signature or autograph from a pre-stored original. Some work by moving a mechanical arm holding a pen, while others work more like a traditional printer, with their own ink distribution mechanisms.
An autopen is a machine used to produce exact copies of a signature or autograph
‘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 publisher also sent emails to people who had bought a copy of the book, telling them: ‘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.’
The issue only emerged after suspicious fans scrutinized one another’s images of their signed books on forums and social media.
Though autopens are taboo in the world of celebrity autograph seekers, they have more practical uses – even by world leaders.
Most famously, former President Barack Obama made headlines in 2011 when he authorized the use of an autopen to sign a bill into law for the first time in U.S. history.
Obama authorized the White House Staff Secretary to use the autopen to sign the bill.
The former leader was 3,700 miles away from Washington at the G8 Summit in France, facing a midnight deadline to prevent provisions of the Patriot Act from expiring.