The latest developments emerged after a report in Tablet demonstrated Lehrer fabricated a number of quotes attributed to Bob Dylan in IMAGINE, and that he obfuscated the truth to journalist Michael Moynihan for several weeks before finally admitting to the fabrications.
In a statement released Monday afternoon by HMH, Lehrer said: "Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book IMAGINE. The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes. But I told Mr. Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan's representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said."
Lehrer continued: "The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers. I also owe a sincere apology to Mr. Moynihan. I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed. "
IMAGINE was also chosen by Barnes & Noble in April as one of its "B&N Recommends" picks. A spokesperson for the bookseller said they are "complying with the publisher's national recall of both the print and physical book." Both BN.com and Amazon have stopped listing the hardcover and ebook editions of the book for sale but the audiobook, published by Brilliance Audio, was still available to buy at both retail outlets Tuesday morning. New Yorker editor David Remnick said in a statement to the NYT: "This is a terrifically sad situation, but, in the end, what is most important is the integrity of what we publish and what we stand for."
Canongate, Lehrer's UK publisher, will also halt publication of IMAGINE. The publisher said in its own statement: "In light of Jonah Lehrer's statement, Canongate has decided, with immediate effect, to take the e-book and audiobook of Imagine off-sale and halt shipment of physical copies."