Well, I have begun to trade with a nearby, friendly guild and have been able to make out substantially with my trades.
However, it still brings up the question as to why selling to the crown is so low. Obviously, it should be low to promote player trade, but I feel it is too low, at least for hides (and I'm assuming for other materials as well).
I feel that beginners should be able to sell to the crown while they learn the ropes and be able to sustain themselves during that time.
Big Hides, for example, should get 40 or 50 copper; more if the quality is good.