In the past two minutes I’ve done the math and figured out how much of a cut Ebay/Paypal is really taking when you sell on Ebay. Paypal, for those who don’t know, is owned by Ebay and is one of the only methods retailers can get paid.
Assuming we are selling a book, then ebay will charge a 15% fee on the final sale price. This will leave the seller with only 85%. Paypal also will charge a fee for incoming funds of 2.9% + $0.30 for payments between $0.01 and $3,000. (keep in mind VERY few books sell for more than $3000)
Multiply .85 by .971 and you will get .82535, meaning you are only getting 82.535% of the final sale price.
If you are trying to profit on an item, therefore, you will need to sell it for at least (taking into account the extra thirty cents paypal charges and whatever listing fees you incurred on ebay) 21.116% higher than you bought it for. This is a hard to get profit margin.
If you are selling a miscellaneous item, the Ebay fee is 12%, meaning you will receive .88 * .971 = 85.448% of the final sale price. You will need to sell the item 17% higher than you bought it to receive a profit*.
The cheapest types of items to sell on Ebay are electronics, which boast an 8% fee, so you will receive .92 * .971 = 89.332% of the final sale price. You will need to sell the item 11.94% higher than you bought it to receive a profit*.
So in my opinion, eBay is not a place to make profits, but a place to get rid of things. With the outrageous fees incurred by the Ebay/Paypal cartel, it would be advantageous to consider other mediums of sale.
*This does not include the paypal extra fee of $.30 on payments