The Word bookstore was formerly a chain of nineteen Christian bookstores in Australia, plus telephone, internet and mail order. In May 2015, Word announced the closure of its retail bookstores, continuing as an online-only business.
Word Australia is the wholesale distribution arm of Word, meaning that a number of Word's smaller competitors are re-sellers of Word merchandise.
The Gospel Film Ministry Ltd was founded in the 1940s by Raymond Moulton as a family-run not-for-profit evangelistic Christian ministry showing films and preaching the gospel. In the 1950s it expanded to distributing music, and established the Word retail chain in the 1970s. In July 2004, Word bought the seven Keswick bookshops in Victoria (giving it 14 shops in total). In 2004 and 2005 new stores were opened in Adelaide (SA) and Alderley (Queensland). In 2007, Word took over the Bible Society Bookshop in Lilydale, Vic, and opened a store at Sunshine in Melbourne’s western suburbs. As Word had historically been largely Victorian-based, an attempt was made to increase its Sydney presence in 2006 by opening a shop in Angel Place in the Sydney CBD. However, that shop closed and another Sydney shop was opened in West Pennant Hills, strategically close to the large Pentecostal church, Hillsong.
Word has been viewed in Sydney Anglican circles as somewhat Pentecostal in leaning. Word's stated practice was to carry substantially the same product lines across its Australian stores, with some adaptation to local distinctives. For example, the Sydney stores carried a wider range of evangelical, reformed titles from Matthias Media and Aquila press, as these were seen by Word as being popular in Sydney. It has been asserted that most of the titles found at Word are by American authors.
From 1 July 2006, the retail and distribution businesses were sold to a new company named Word Bookstores Pty Ltd owned by Craig and Stuart Moulton (grandchildren of the founder), structured as a hybrid trust. The original GFM continued as a non-profit organisation promoting the Christian faith.
Notes and references
- See the Australian Christian Channel News Article. Retrieved on 11 May 2009.
- See the About Word Webpage for their history of growth and acquisition. Retrieved on 11 May 2009.
- See the article on the Sydney Anglicans Webpage. Retrieved on 11 May 2009.
- For example, see comments by a senior executive of Matthias Media. Retrieved on 11 May 2009.
- See the article on the Sydney Anglicans Webpage. Retrieved on 12 May 2009.
- See Charisma Magazine article entitled "What's Happening Down Under" dated 27 July 2007. Retrieved on 12 May 2009.
- See the Australian Business Register. Retrieved on 5 August 2009.