So I replaced the spine part of the cover and used book cloth to cover the spine. I used some Japanese repair paper on the inside of the hinge areas as you can see in this close up photo. Then I covered up that stuff with some new pasted endpapers.
I think I should have attempted to get the book cloth in between the paper and board...rather than pasting it on top of the cover paper. That would have solved the issue of covering up part of the title on the front cover. But when I tried to separate the paper and the board on the covers it was just tearing too easily. I think there were a couple issues: the paper on the covers of this book is brittle, likely low grade, maybe acidic... and I was probably using the wrong tools for the job since I haven't acquired tools for this kind of work, making me "all thumbs" while doing this.