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 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 has since closed and another Sydney shop has opened in West Pennant Hills, strategically close to the large Pentecostal church, Hillsong. There are currently 19 Word bookshops. Word is viewed amongst Evangelical circles as somewhat Pentecostal in leaning. Word has stated that its bookstores across Australia carry the same product lines, but adapt that product range locally. For example, the Sydney stores carry 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 (and Koorong) nowadays are by American authors.
From July 1 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 continues as a non-profit organisation promoting the Christian faith.