His principal work, The Bibliographer’s Manual of English Literature—the first systematic work of the kind—was published in four volumes in 1834. It took Lowndes fourteen years to compile, but, despite its merits, brought him neither fame nor money. "For years Lowndes was the national British bibliography." It is regarded as a "bibliographical classic" although "pleasurably more scattershot than systematic."
Lowndes, reduced to poverty, subsequently became cataloguer to Henry George Bohn, the bookseller and publisher. In 1839 he published the first parts of The British Librarian, designed to supplement his early manual, but owing to failing health did not complete the work.
^Thomas F. Bonnell (2005/2006). "When Book History Neglects Bibliography: Trouble with the 'Old Canon' in 'The Reading Nation'". Studies in Bibliography57. ISSN0081-7600. JSTOR40372113.Check date values in: |date= (help)