Hydroponics may be a relatively new discipline. Happily, there are a wide range of hydroponics books available on the general topic, and well as a number of books on the related specialties. We have found the following books to be particularly helpful as we have begun our work with these approaches.
The following books are intended for those who are curious about hydroponics, but aren't quite sure what it can do, what's involved, and what would work best for their situation. These hydroponics books all provide a general overview of methods, techniques, equipment and potential production possible with various hydroponic systems. Some of them go into more detail than others, or provide things like DIY hydroponics plans. Others provide concise summaries and lots of photos. Choose whichever best meets your needs.
Hydroponics for the Home Gardener, by Stewart Kenyon
This is a nice overall introduction to hydroponics, which demystifies many of the various principles and practices. I like that the author assumes you're not simply a hobbyist wanting to grow a single tomato, but rather you expect decent production for household use. It does provide repeated coverage of growing media throughout the book, in the context of how home gardeners can use these materials as an adjunct to their soil growing methods.
How-To Hydroponics, Fourth Edition, by Keith Roberto
This has been one of the foundation books that many of us used to get started. As indicated by the "4th Edition", it has been around awhile and has undergone repeated updating. Like the previous book, this book assumes you are not merely curious about hydroponics but want to get something accomplished for your efforts. It provides not only information but plans to get started on small scale systems. While not intended for experienced growers, or those intending to get started on a large scale, it provides a very sound foundation for beginners. The author provides a chapter on growing media, but also covers growing media in other sections of the book.
Hydroponics: Soilless Gardening by Richard Nicholls
This is another good introduction to hydroponics, but more from a conceptual standpoint than a practical standpoint. It is a very matter-of-fact sort of book, with a more "college class" tone than a friendly conversational feel. Still, it provides a solid foundation. Beginners can use this book to create a solid feel for the basic concepts, enough to get going with your first projects. As your knowledge and experience grows, you'll eventually outgrow this book, but by then it will have served its purpose.
Hydroponics Basics by George van Patten
This little book is one of those that gives extremely dense information, plus a lot of photos of different potential setups. It is not intended as an in-depth treatment of any particular topic, but rather hopes to display a lot of different options. Some folks are looking for more depth and fewer pictures. If that's the case, one of the other, more in-depth guides would be a better selection. But if you're looking for a quick survey of various possibilities within the world of hydroponics, and you just want some of the details but not in depth treatment, this is just the book for you.
The following books go into much more depth than the general books listed above. These books are intended for those who have already experimented with their first setups and want to delve more deeply into the subject matter, and/or those who are ready to expand or refine their hydroponics operation. These books will provide solid information on their various topics. If you're hungry for specifics, these books will satisfy.
Hydroponic Food Production by Howard M Resh
Howard Resh is one of the more accomplished hydroponic authors and you'll see his name mentioned again in these pages. This is one of his definitive works. It is a no-nonsense, in-depth treatment of how to use hydroponics to really crank out production, either for comprehensive home use, up to small scale commercial production. If you've already dipped your toe in the hydroponics pool and now are ready to swim, this book is a good choice.
Hydroponic Tomatoes by Howard M Resh
I told you you'd see Howard's name listed again. This is one of the bibles on hydroponic tomato production. Tomatoes are one of the main crops raised hydroponically; even conventional growers have turned to hydroponics to provide year-round tomatoes no matter where they live and work. For folks considering their first commercial hydroponics venture, tomatoes are one of the high-value crops that are considered good candidates for such an operation. You'll get solid technical information in this book. If you want to succeed with hydroponic tomatoes, this book needs to be on your shelf.
Hydroponic Lettuce Production by Dr. Lynette Morgan
Dr. Morgan is one of the hydroponic research community's shining stars, having worked for many years to perfect hydroponic methods for a variety of vegetable crops. Her work on lettuce production has served as THE hydroponic how-to manual for that crop. Given that salad greens are a short-turnaround, cool season crop in high demand at farmers' markets, groceries and CSA's, hydroponic lettuce production would be an excellent market crop candidate. If you want to know how to do it well, this book is the single best source of information you'll find.
Gardening Indoors with CO2 by Tom LaSpina
This is one of the few books I'm aware of which look specifically at how to boost indoor CO2 concentrations for either soil-based or soilless growing. CO2 supplementation is a critical aspect of any kind of indoor or closed-environment growing systems, including hoophouses and greenhouses. Why? Because plants consume CO2 like we consume oxygen. If they don't have enough CO2 to breathe, then all the rest of our production efforts will be limited by that bottleneck. And most folks never even stop to think about it. This little book helps the grower ensure their plants always have plenty to breathe. The book also covers related topics such as humidity, which both conventional and hydroponic growers will have to consider before, during and after they add CO2 to their growing operations. A bargain for the price, and highly recommended.
Soilless Culture, edited by Michael Raviv
You wanted an authoritative reference manual on all aspects of hydroponic culture, suitable for both commercial growers and academics? This is it. Published in 2007, it has some of the most recent information available in print, on many of the latest developments throughout the world of hydroponic crop production. The various chapter authors know their business. Until you start going to hydroponic conferences, this will be the closest you'll ever get to being able to pick the brains of the movers and shakers in the hydroponics community.
About 10 years ago, we launched our own hyydroponics magazine to fill a void between hobbyist-level and advanced hydroponics magazines. We called it Hydroponics for Market Growers. After publishing for 18 months, we found we could not give the magazine the attention it needed if we continued with our farm, and vice versa. So we let the magazine go. But continued interest in hydroponics magazines inspired us to offer our back issues for sale. Our Hydroponics for Market Growers page lists all those back issues and the articles in each. We invite you to browse that selection and see if any of those articles would answer your own hydroponics questions.