A curious thing happened when this newspaper reported that Island Entertainment, the last video store on the Vineyard and one of the last anywhere, was going out of business. Readers who responded online proudly cited their customer numbers as though in proof of membership to an exclusive club.

The rise and fall of the video store happened in just a few short decades, but at its height it occupied a singular place in American life. It was the lending library for the burgeoning art form of film, before libraries themselves got into the act, a place where people for the first time could choose what to watch and where to watch it. Movie connoisseurs could check out obscure titles and families could rent recent releases without the trouble and expense of going to a theatre.

The giant in the industry, Blockbuster, didn’t quite make it to 30, its once revolutionary business model eclipsed by the more efficient streaming services. On the Vineyard, where change is often slower, Island Entertainment lasted 32 years, though owner Anne Evasick would readily admit it has been in decline for years.

The business was opened in 1986 by Bob Dutton, who now manages the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center. Ms. Evasick has found work at Edgartown Cinemas. That both have found new berths in the movie business is happy news for them and Island film buffs and a reminder that changing technology brings opportunities as well as losses.

Nostalgia aside, few would dispute that streaming films online is a better delivery mechanism for movies than a brick and mortar store. Unlike books and vinyl records, the enjoyment of which is fundamentally different online, movies don’t improve by being transferred to tape or disc. The resurgence of independent bookstores like Bunch of Grapes and the survival of a few good record shops is a phenomenon unlikely to be repeated in the now departed video store industry.

Meanwhile film by appointment (versus on demand) remains a healthy, growing activity on Martha’s Vineyard. The Chilmark-based Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival offers an exciting and provocative mix of feature and documentary films on its spring and summer schedules; the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center offers a fulsome and eclectic mix of studio films and indies 12 months a year; and first-run movies are available year-round at Edgartown Cinemas and seasonally at the Strand and the Capawock. Even movie showings at the town libraries reliably attract an audience.

Something certainly has been lost in the closing of Island Entertainment. To some, it was a place to go and browse the stacks; to others it was also a place to trade reviews and seek recommendations from Bob, Anne, Jamie, Chelsea and the many other movie lovers that worked there over the years. That so many remember their customer number is an indication of the strength of the bond between store and patrons.

But the things it carried have not gone away. Technology has brought about a revolution in distribution — of words, images and ideas. Some day, not soon, the print version of this newspaper may cease to exist, and there will be the inevitable lamenting of its loss. What matters more than the method of delivery, however, is the survival of creative expression.