After 50 years, Nashville, Tenn.—based Word Publishing is changing its name to W Publishing Group, signaling a move toward greater diversification in its publishing program, according to executive v-p and publisher David Moberg.

The new corporate identity, which Moberg said has been under consideration for the past few years, was prompted by the expiration of the usage agreement Word had with Gaylord Entertainment, which acquired the rights to the name in 1997 when it purchased Word Records and Music from Word's parent company, Thomas Nelson Inc. Moberg said the W Publishing Group will begin phasing in the name immediately on reprints, and it will appear on all publications July 1.

The intention is for W Publishing Group to become an umbrella for a "whole complement of products" under a trade book brand, Moberg said. He pointed to Max Lucado's He Chose the Nails as a popular title that Word spun out into a video, a music CD, Bible study curriculum, audios, a church outreach program and gift product licenses. The Lucado title is also an example of W Publishing Group's vision for working with authors and their ministries to expand "event publishing," which can include television and radio specials and author tours. "We are more than just a publisher, in the traditional sense of the word," Moberg said of the diversification. "This is the wave of the future for Christian publishing."

New imprints are in the works, among them a Christian weight-loss imprint called Thin Within, an as-yet-unnamed fiction imprint and a line of books linked to music projects. W Publishing Group and CCM Creative Ventures have agreed to create CCM Books, with titles on contemporary Christian music and musicians. The offerings will span everything from devotional and self-help books, fan books, biographies and gift books, to combination book/CD projects.