Michael Kovac/WireImage Bob Dylan
Dylan, 81, expressed his "deepest regret" for the gaffe in a rare public statement that said he began using a mechanical autopen several years ago after he developed a "bad case of vertigo."
"I've been made aware that there's some controversy about signatures on some of my recent artwork prints and on a limited-edition of Philosophy Of Modern Song," Dylan began his statement, which he shared on Facebook on Saturday. "I've hand-signed each and every art print over the years, and there's never been a problem."
Fans of the star had paid $600 for what was supposed to be a signed copy of Philosophy, which was published on Nov. 1 and is the first new writing from Dylan since 2004. The tome contains more than 60 essays focusing on songs from other artists like Hank Williams and Nina Simone.
In his statement, the "Blowin' in the Wind" singer said he'd developed vertigo in 2019, and when the pandemic happened shortly after, it became impossible for him and his team of five to take part in signing sessions as he had in the past.
"We could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging," he said. "So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn't help."
Dylan said eventually someone suggested he use an autopen to help make sure he met his deadlines, and that he was assured autopens were frequently used in similar situations.
"With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done 'all the time' in the art and literary worlds," he wrote. "Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I'm working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that."
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The rocker signed his statement, "With my deepest regrets."
Fans who purchased the limited editions of Philosophy for $599 began receiving their copies in the mail earlier this month, but quickly realized something was amiss, according to Variety. The outlet reported that as buyers shared pictures online of the signatures in their book, they found at least 17 different variations being used that had been signed by an "autopen," which reproduces real signatures with a machine.
The books also came with a letter from Simon and Schuster President-CEO Jonathan Karp, who said the signatures were, in fact, authentic.
Simon and Schuster later apologized for the error, and said they would be "addressing this immediately by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund."