Yes, there are some open source novels. Some of the projects are being sold for money, so I guess they're not truly open source for this reason. Some of these projects aren't looking to be published formally at all. Some of them aren't finished.
I'll let you judge the quality of the writing yourself.
It's no longer available on the web (I can't find a good copy of it, but I did my best) nor was it ever formally published to my knowledge, but it was created like a wiki with hundreds of contributors. For more information, read this research paper written about it: A million penguins research report.
(No longer hosted online and also was deleted from Github)
Avilu is an open source novel licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 License. Feel free to share, edit, translate and adapt this novel.
My plan as of now is to gather as many pull requests as possible and, when it's done, publish it, prominently naming the contributors. It will be made available as an ebook or a print-on-demand paperback using a pay what you will model. The rationale for this is that, in my experience, people place a higher value on things that they pay for.
This book is also being sold on Amazon for $1.
- You can interact with the text and the rest directly from the web: you can comment on text and changes in it (called commits).
- You can also request changes on the text using issues. If you find an error of any kind, just raise an issue and I’ll fix it (or try to).
- Create your own version: once forked, you can use git (check out this manual http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Git_for_dummies ) to branch and evolve the story in whichever way you want.
- You can keep that copy (hey, it’s free as in free speech) or, if you think it’s a worthwhile addition to Hoborg, do a Pull Request.
- Check out the TODO list in case you find something that you could do yourself.
Books that aren't novels
It looks to me like there's more out there in the way of
open source technical writing.
For example, there are many different projects that are code related because it's usually programmers that know Github. An example is Codewriting:
Codewriting is an open, hopefully collaborative writing project to document current best practices and forward thinking in the field of technical communications, specifically documentation for software projects.
I also found HoTT, which is a "textbook on informal homotopy type theory" (i.e. math).