Simon & Schuster sold 900 signed copies of the singer’s new essay collection, but superfans and internet sleuths noticed something wasn’t right with the autograph. Now the publisher is issuing refunds.
By Remy Tumin
Nov. 22, 2022
Henry Bernstein has seen Bob Dylan 27 times in concert and owns three items autographed by him: a copy of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album, a photograph of the singer and a “John Wesley Harding” songbook. His favorite song is “Tangled Up in Blue.”
So when Simon & Schuster, Dylan’s publisher, advertised limited-edition, hand-signed copies of the musician’s new collection of essays for $600 each, Bernstein was among 900 fans who went for one. Last week, he received his copy of “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” Dylan’s first collection of writings since he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, with a letter of authenticity signed by Jonathan Karp, the publisher’s chief executive.
There was only one problem.
Karp’s signature “looked more legit than Bob’s,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein was one of hundreds of fans who sleuthed their way around social media, reaching the conclusion that the supposedly hand-signed books had not, in fact, been signed by Dylan.