I remember banging on doors and telling householders the magazines were 10 cents then 25 cents for both "to cover the cost for printing". I think Bibles were $3 and smaller books were 25 or 50 cents, "to cover printing costs".
The amount of sales from selling an item does not signify income was made. If the production cost to print a magazine is $2 million/week, $2 million/week sales would only cover production and would not cover additional overhead costs. I'm not implying WT didn't realize additional funds above production cost but that only referring to gross sales is not enough info without also knowing production and other costs.
Technology today offers alternatives to printing and handling paper when publishing a magazine or book. I see WT now taking advantage of those alternatives.
The cost of writing text content will be comparable whether it will be sent to a press, posted to a web site or distributed as a PDF download.
WT now have no one to develop new and plausible doctrine as they had with F Franz. I expect whoever was responsible for the overlapping generation crap, realize how much of a disaster and joke that has turned out to be.
Although there are costs to high bandwidth internet and hosting, I understand WT is mainly keeping those in-house to keep control, which also reduces costs. If the literature produced is all digital, then trucks and drivers are no longer required, thereby reducing overhead which likely more than offsets internet and hosting costs.
WT has now transferred the cost of printing to JWs who went out and bought tablets, computers, internet accounts and other technology so as to access WT literature. If JWs want hard copies, they will soon need to print it themselves at their own expense.
So many Betheites were utilized for printing operations, book binding, packaging, warehousing, stock picking, shipping and trucking. By going mainly to digital literature, it then makes sense to reduce the number of Bethelites since the majority of those jobs would no longer be needed.
Printing presses, binding machines, warehousing, machine shops, and truck repair facilities would all require a substantial amount of space and fuel. By converting to all digital content, those areas are no longer needed or can be re-purposed to house servers, TV and music production studios and animation & web site production.
If each branch's personnel and building square footage is reduced, then personnel utilized for cleaning, maintenance and other support can also be reduced, thereby resulting in additional cut backs and cost savings.
While you may claim all of those reductions appear from the outside to indicate financial troubles, in actual fact, none of the above prove anything except a changed method of conducting business in the 21st century.
WT is registered as a charity and has always relied on donations, mainly from JWs.
As previously stated, I think GB and others at the top are recognizing the reduction of JWs in wealthy nations, while continuing to grow in poorer nations. I think they are attempting to get whatever they can, while they can.
Perhaps at some point, WT will attempt to also monetize their website, similar to online music sites which members pay subscription fees, although I suspect, that may incur sales tax.
Personnel reductions, building size reductions and changes from physical literature to digital, do not in themselves prove financial problems. Donations and other income need to be addressed separately.