Bob Dylan has issued an apology to fans who paid hundreds for his new book and discovered that they were signed using a machine, despite being advertised as “hand-signed”.

It emerged that the 900 copies of Philosophy of Modern Song, which set fans back $US 599 ($AU 895) per book, all included identical versions of the star’s singer after fans compared notes online.

Taking to social media, Dylan addressed the controversy and explained that he used an autopen – a device that allows signatures to be printed on demand – due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues that prevented him from signing them individually.

“I’ve hand-signed each and every art print over the years, and there’s never been a problem,” the 81-year-old wrote.

“However, in 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years. It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to while the virus was raging.

“So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help.”

Dylan continued to explain that looming deadlines saw him consider a suggestion to use an autopen, which he was told was something done “‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds”.

“Using a machine was an error in judgement and I want to rectify it immediately,” he concluded.

“I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.”

Days earlier, the publisher issued a statement regarding the signatures featured in the books.

Simon & Schuster confirmed that the books have Dylan’s “original signature” but that it was a “penned replica form”, saying that those who had purchased the books would receive an immediate refund.

“To those who purchased the Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologise,” the publisher tweeted.

“As it turns out, the limited-edition books do contain Bob’s original signature, but in a penned replica form. We are addressing this information by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund.”

Images: Getty Images / Instagram

This article first appeared on OverSixty.