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Bob Dylan and me - there's one big difference

Bob Dylan, the musical poet laureate of the 1960s who railed against the establishment, war and greed, has been busted for selling his new book of essays with a misleading hook: each book, his publisher and he vowed, would be autographed by Dylan himself.

That, in the eyes of Dylan’s most rabid fans, would justify the $600 they were forking over for the book of essays.

Once people who’d bought the book started comparing his autograph online, though, they noticed something strange: each of the signatures was exactly the same as all of the others.

Why? Because the publisher, Simon & Schuster, was forced to confess that Dylan – the man who wrote the soundtrack to much of the anti-war and Civil Rights movements - didn’t actually write his name in each book.

Scratch that: he didn’t write it in any of them.

Instead, he used something called an autopen, a contraption that replicates a person’s signature. It’s like a fancier version of a rubber stamp.

The cantankerous cultural icon is famous for adopting Henry Ford’s motto – never complain, never explain – but this time not only did he explain, he apologized.

Dylan, in a Facebook post, said he was feeling poorly when the time came to sign the books and thus resorted to the autopen.

The publisher said it would refund the money to the people who bought the books with the fake autograph, and the 900 people who bought it can have the satisfaction of knowing they are in an exclusive group – people to whom the legendarily surly Dylan apologized.

Now, neither I nor anyone else has written anything more powerful than Dylan’s song Blowin’ In The Wind, but I can promise you this, dear readers: when you buy my books, I will sign each and every one of them myself – and even personalize them if you tell me to whom you want it sent.

With the holiday season kicking off, many of you are no doubt trying to figure out what to get for the hard-to-please person in your home, in your office, in your life.

Fret not. From the comfort of your couch, you can order Do Unto Others… And Then Run and …And The Horse You Rode In On, Saunders.

Both books are sure to give you hours upon hours of enjoyable reading and are bound to become keepsakes passed down through generations.

The also make great paperweights and doorstops.

So, to borrow the words of one of Dylan’s great songs “Don’t think twice: buy them today.”

Go to’s bookstore and order now to ensure that your loved ones receive their authentic autographed copies in time for the holidays.


Dec 08, 2022

Dylan is a has been. Totally unconcerned about fans time and money to see him. Disgusted!


As an aside to your, as usual great read, and for those of us who toiled in the federal executive world most of our lives, the auto pen is considered a legal signature and the signatories are legally bound to the content under their signature. That being said Bob should have signed em in whatever shaky manner I suspect he signs these days!


I have never been more disappointed in a performer than Bob Dylan. We went to see him before the pandemic, he came out on stage, didn't introduce any of his band members, didn't speak to the audience during the performance, was impossible to understand when he was singing, and when he finished, he held his hands out to his side and left the stage. I wouldn't walk across the street to see him.





Meet Barry Saunders

For over 20 years, Barry was a columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He also wrote for other publications, such as the Atlanta Constitution and the Richmond County Daily Journal. Often described as powerfully honest and illustratively funny, Barry's writing is both loved and hated by readers- sometimes simultaneously.  


Want more? Get your own copy of one of Barry's published books featuring reader favorites (and not so favorites) from his years writing columns for The News & Observer. Titled "Do Unto Others...And then Run" and "...And The Horse You Rode In On Saunders!", they're full of guaranteed entertainment. 


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