Simon & Schuster, the publishing giant and home to Bob Dylan’s new book of essays The Philosophy of Modern Song, is issuing refunds for the limited autographed edition because, as it turns out, Dylan technically didn’t autograph them.
Some very, very dedicated Dylan fans caught on to the fabrication as readers began comparing their signatures to one another online. Ultimately, as they deduced, the book’s $600 price tag merely got them a “penned replica” of the musician’s John Hancock produced by an autopen machine.
“To those who purchased The Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologize,” Simon & Schuster wrote on social media. “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.”
To make matters worse, Rolling Stone pointed out that the limited edition of the book even included a note from Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp vouching for its 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’s memo reads. “This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan.”
Not a good look! If you still want to read Dylan’s musings on rock ‘n’ roll, you can grab a non-autographed hardcover copy of The Philosophy of Modern Song for the much more reasonable price of $29 here. See the publisher’s apology below.
This isn’t even the first time The Philosophy of Modern Song has ruffled some feathers, but at least Dylan could reasonably redirect the blame here: Last week, Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz responded to an excerpt from the book in which Dylan appears to belittle any new wave artist that isn’t Elvis Costello. “I love Bob Dylan’s new book The Philosophy of Modern Song. But I have one little bone to pick with the author,” Frantz wrote online, concluding the post with a simple request: “Suck a dick.”
— Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) November 20, 2022