Neal Caren points out to me that ASA does have a page called “Audit of Financial Records”. There isn’t a link to the page on the ASA site, as far as I can tell. And the last year it has was 2007. That appears to say that publications brought in about 3 million and cost about 1.1-1.2 million in 2007, for a surplus of 1.8-1.9 million.
Granted, ASA requires members buy a journal (presently $45), which it could simply charge as dues and give everyone one journal for free, which I presume would shift about $600K from publications income to dues income. (All that said, I make no claims to be an accountant.)
Just so we’re clear, the ASA journals have been losing subscribers, both on the institutional (where the real money is) and individual level. The larger point, though, is that the ASA journals are not a break-even proposition for the organization. The journals make money and ASA uses that money for other matters (if you compare the 2008 Form 990s for the different disciplines that I mentioned in my previous post, the biggest outlier expense for sociology vs. other disciplines appears to be “occupancy”). The problem with reducing the profit from journals is not so much that it threatens the journals per se, but for the threat to these other expenses. Also, it means that one shouldn’t believe that the page limits of the ASA journals are somehow determined by what the journal revenues imply they can afford.