Over the years, cloth books sustain great degrees of wear and tear, just like any other binding. Cloth books became very common in the 19th – 20th century, and unless looked after with exceptional care become torn and tatty quickly. A high quality repair of cloth books largely depends on the skill of the restorer.
It is difficult to reproduce antiquarian cloths. Thus bookbinders ideally keep a stock of various cloths to match style and age for repairs needed. It is important to hide the joins of the replaced spine edges, corners, or parts repaired. This process takes a great deal of skill, and knowledge of materials, as is common in all parts of these processes of restoration.
Quarter and half leather bindings (books with leather back or books with leather back and corner of the covers) often have cloth sides that require repair or replacing with cloth of the same age. Repairing cloth bindings with the incorrect age and/or type of material can leave what was once a valuable item totally worthless for collectors or antique book dealers.