It was a tangible scandal for the generally somewhat fussy literary business. Shortly after delivery, it was revealed that supposedly “hand-signed” copies of the new Bob Dylan book were actually done by a “signing machine”.
Now Bob Dylan has personally apologized for this faux pas. He explained via Facebook that using a machine was something of a collective “misjudgment.”
Previously, his US publisher Simon & Schuster had to admit that the original handwritten copies of “The Philosophy Of Modern Song” were actually produced using the so-called “autopen system”. With this machine, a person’s signature, once scanned, can be reproduced indefinitely.
Copies of the book – of which there were 900 – were sold through Simon & Schuster’s website for $599. Various fans became aware of the fake when they started sharing photos of their specimens on forums. Here it became clear that each specimen bore a practically identical-looking signature.
Dylan now explained that this technical implementation was suggested to him by the publisher after suffering from illness and dizziness for a long period of time in 2019 and therefore not feeling able to autograph the 900 books himself.
He now tells fans: “It has been brought to my attention that there is some controversy over the signatures on some of my recent art prints and on a limited edition ‘Philosophy Of Modern Song’. I’ve autographed quite a few special editions over the course of my career and there’s never been a problem.”
“In 2019, however, I had a bad attack of dizziness, the after-effects of which continued into the pandemic period. It took a crew of five working closely with me to make these signature sessions possible. We ultimately couldn’t find an infection-proof yet workable way to do this while the virus raged.
So it was impossible to sign anything for a long time. The vertigo aftermath didn’t make things any better. In view of the looming contract deadlines, the idea of using a signing machine came up. Along with my partners’ insurance; that something like that would be done ‘all the time’ in the world of art and literature anyway…”
Dylan concluded, “Using a machine was a misperception that I want to correct immediately. I work with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.”