Definition of term:: Erosion
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Loss to paper or cloth caused by any number of reasons, but usually some instance of slow and steady wear, as opposed to a more violent species of damage like chipping or tearing. Erosion usually happens to books before they come into the hands of dealers and collectors, who presumably know how to care for them.
Source: What bookdealers really mean. A dictionary by Tom Congalton and Dan Gregory (Between the Covers), with additions from other sources